The 29th Matsuri Kauai Festival, sponsored by Japanese Cultural Society is held today from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall. There will be demonstration of mochi-pounding, tea ceremony, calligraphy, bonsai, flower arrangements, crafts and some entertainments of dance, song, taiko and so on. Also many guests and friends from Kauai's sister cities, Moriyama and Iwaki, Japan will be there.
A Japanese word "Matsuri" is usually translated into "festival" in English.
Just like original meaning of festival was to feast and entertain God, Matsuri had a very strong religious meaning "to have an altar for someone sacred and divine.
At the same time, "Matsuri" was origin of politics, called "Matsuri-goto."
The main role of "Matsuri-goto" or politics was to pray and ask for deities for their guidance and blessings.
This indicates religion and politics were originally one and the main role of politics was to set a day of festival.
So Matsuri used to have a great respect to deities such as various Gods in nature and various Buddhas, too, ever since Buddhism was imported to Japan.
Why ancient people needed to have supernatural being to pray? Why they needed to have matsuri?
I think the answer is very related to the essence of Japanese culture which, I think, is humbleness.
By having someone who is divine and perfect, we, human being, can be imperfect. This means, we know what we can do and what we cannot do. Knowing our limitation make us naturally pray for deities at the same time we can be humble.
Realization of our imperfect nature, is the secret of improvement. Because we are not perfect, there is always room for development and improvement. Because we are foolish, we can make efforts to be smarter.
Last, I'd like to thank all members and supporters of Kauai Japanese cultural society for their time and efforts to continue to
Matsuri. Also I want to thank their President Pearl Shimizu who asked me to do blessing at the opening ceremony of Matsuri.