Guide to Noto’s Satoyama and Satoumi (Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems) by Photos and Movies

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Name
Insect Repelling
Category
Festival
Class
Custom
Comment
This traditional event is held from mid to late June in order to repel pests with the fire of torches and pray for a good harvest. The one held in the Kyonen area of Wakayama-machi has been designated as an intangible folk cultural asset by Suzu City. After paying a visit to their local shrine, people walk along agricultural roads and footpaths between rice fields, raising a two- to three-meter-long bamboo torch, beating a drum and shouting “Go away, plant hoppers!” They erect an “insect talisman” board at the inlets of irrigation streams, and a priest says a Shinto prayer to repel harmful insects and bring a good harvest. Plant hoppers come from the Chinese Continent in the air flows that are created along a seasonal rain front, and cause delay in growth, withering and viral rice diseases. They are said to be one of the reasons for the famines of the Edo period. As there were no pesticides in those days, people attracted plant hoppers with the fire of torches and burnt them. That is the origin of this traditional custom.
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