PHOTO: Child archers set festival spectators aquiver

September 19, 2012

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Young children wore medieval robes and fired arrows from bows at a Tokyo shrine on Sept. 17, in a ceremony thought to date back more than four centuries.

Fourteen children, aged 4 to 10 and representing nearby neighborhoods, shot at a target as their parents applauded and snapped photos.

"I am happy because I shot a bull's-eye," said 7-year-old Yuna Tsumura. The two-meter-diameter target was about five meters away.

Her father was happy.

"I am pleased she shot well," said 41-year-old Eiji Tsumura. "I feel more relieved than my daughter."

The festival took place at the Tensojinja shrine in Kameido, Koto Ward, in eastern Tokyo.

Shrine officials say until the Meiji Era (1868-1912) the annual ceremony was a full-scale event with archers mounted on horseback. When the space to ride horses was no longer available, the ceremony was down-scaled into one for children.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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A boy draws a bow during an annual ceremony at the Tensojinja shrine in Tokyo's Koto Ward on Sept. 17. (Ryota Goto)

A boy draws a bow during an annual ceremony at the Tensojinja shrine in Tokyo's Koto Ward on Sept. 17. (Ryota Goto)

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  • A boy draws a bow during an annual ceremony at the Tensojinja shrine in Tokyo's Koto Ward on Sept. 17. (Ryota Goto)

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