Kasafuku (傘福)

Kasafuku is a hanging decoration seen around Sakata City, Yamagata Prefecture. Kasafuku is also written as 笠福.


Its origin is unclear, but it is thought that it was probably brought by Kitamaebune (a trading ship in Edo and Meiji period) because Sakata flourished as a rice port in Edo period and had contacts with Kyoto via Kitamae route (traveling west).

Also in 1765, Mitsuoka HOMMA, the 3rd generation of the Homma family and a great merchant from Sakata City, asked a puppet maker in Kyoto for float production to stimulate the town of Sakata with a big Sanno Festival like Yamahoko-junko (a parade of beautifully decorated floats) of the Gion Festival in Kyoto. The float that was delivered at that time had an umbrella on the upper stage and it is said that it may have something to do with Kasafuku. The float is called Kamehoko after Kamegasaki-jo Castle in Sakata.

The former annex of the Honma family is Honma museum now and is decorated with a pair of Kasafuku once owned by the Kazama family who were purveyors of the Shonai Domain, together with hina dolls on a tiered platform. That's why Kasafuku is associated with the peach Doll Festival, but Kasafukus were originally placed in local shrines to wish for safe deliveries and children's growth to Kannondo temples by hanging 61 kinds ornaments representing various wishes in each umbrella and wishing for healthy growth of children because it had been said that souls are living in it.

In recent years, it has been called the three hanging decorations together with Sagemon from Yanagawa in Fukuoka and Hina no Tsurushikazari from Izu Inatori.

Kasafukus decorated with 6,000 ornaments were made in 2006 for the 25th anniversary celebration the Sakata Chamber of Commerce and Industry business women's club. The biggest one is 270cm high with and umbrella of 200 cm in diameter and 999 hanging ornaments, which is exhibited in Sanno Club (a tourist facility of Sakata City).

[Original Japanese]