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Sketches of Japanese Manners and Customs
written by "Silver, Jacob Mortimer Wier"
... daughter-in-law, preceded by chattering grandchildren in the gayest of dresses, tugging at extraordinary kites; or a father, in the doorway of his house, nurses one child, while the mother exhibits for the admiration of sympathizing friends another infant—probably one of the unconscious objects of all this rejoicing. Though the men frequently exceed the bounds of sobriety on these [pg 4] festivals and holidays, they rarely become quarrelsome. It is, however, by no means unusual for them to keep in a state of intoxication for days; alleging this, with perfect sang froid, as an excuse for any neglected promise or unfinished job. The 'Omatsurie,' or 'Merchants' Great Festival,' which is only celebrated in the principal towns, takes place about the middle of July, and may be considered to be an exhibition of the different trades, as the merchants and craftsmen of the country show the choicest specimens of their wares and handicraft in a kind of trades' procession. Like all the rest of their festivals it has a religious signification, the people believing that misfortunes in business are warded off by it. Upwards of five hundred trade trophies figure in one of these processions, the imposing nature of which may be imagined from the gorgeous materials and fantastic dresses depicted in the illustration. The car in the foreground bears the trophy of the wax-figure makers, whose trade is one of the most lucrative in Japan, as the Japanese not only perpetuate their celebrities by wax-work effigies, but the majority of the people, being professors of the Sintoo religion, have Lares and Penates of the same material, called 'Kamis,' which are supposed to intercede on their behalf with the Supreme Being. And this is in addition to regular wax-work exhibitions, which are very popular, and the sale of toys ...

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