Thursday, September 12, 2013

(389) Azumabashi

The bridge that gave its name to the festival and one of the two big bridges crossing the Sumida in Asakusa. “Hashi/bashi” (橋) means “bridge” while “Azuma” (吾妻) means “my wife”; the name comes from the myth of 1st-2nd century prince Osu no Mikoto  (小碓尊) or Yamato Takeru no Mikoto (日本武尊) and his wife Ototachibana-hime (弟橘媛) who, during a campaign of the prince at the east, sacrificed herself to the god of sea to save him. When he had safely crossed the Sagami Bay (which, incidentally, is in Kanagawa, not Tokyo), Yamato Takeru thought again of his spouse and her fate and cried “My wife, alas!” (“Azuma Haya!/ “吾妻はや”) and since then the expression is being used when referring, somewhat poetically, to the east.

(For a bigger version of this picture both in color and black and white, check my "Japan Arekore" set on Flickr)

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