For Ecological Friendly City – Katano Ecology Festa 2016

Photo of Antarctica (UNEP)

Photo of Antarctica (UNEP)

The World Meteorological Organisation’s information note in 2013 says that the global average temperatures fluctuated by 4 to 7℃ over the past one million years(1). It seems not to be a serious temperature change for us. However, it causes environmental crises such as the decline of Arctic sea ice and the rise of a sea level.

These vicious impacts gradually demolish our daily lives. For example, people in Tuvalu are facing an environmental crisis by which they may lose their country in near future. The average height of Tuvalu is said to be less than 2 metres above sea level. If the sea level rises more than 2 metres due to global warming, some of islands of Tuvalu may sink into water. Therefore, the Tuvalu government strongly requests other countries to take any actions for fighting against climate change.

Tuvalu (

Tuvalu (

When the 58th Session of the United Nations General Assembly was held in the UN headquarters on September 24th 2003, Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Saufatu Sopoanga, claimed as follows; “We live in constant fear of the adverse impacts of climate change. For a coral atoll nation, sea level rise and more severe weather events loom as a growing threat to our entire population. The threat is real and serious, and is of no difference to a slow and insidious form of terrorism against us” (2).

Global warming is a serious issue not only for Tuvalu but also for other countries. For instance, huge typhoons and hurricanes frequently hit Asian countries such as the Philippines. Japan also suffers from crazy weather in recent years. In 2014, a heavy rain destroyed part of the banks along Yuragawa River and many areas in Fukuchiyama City were hit by a flooding. Furthermore, in Hiroshima, a landslide caused by the heavy rain killed 74 victims. These natural disasters may be deeply relating to global warming.

We cannot stop environmental disruptions including global warming today. However, taking an action must be important in order to hand our beautiful earth to the next generations. You may ask me “So, what can we do?” I would say “Let’s find out the answer in Katano Ecology Festa 2016”.


Katano Ecology Festa 2016 was held at Hoshi no Sato Iwafune on March 13th. About 3000 people came and enjoyed eco-friendly food stalls, poster sessions, and amusement booths. The food stalls did not serve wooden chopsticks called “Waribashi” with food. Instead, we had to buy them at a chopsticks stand. Of course, the reason is to reduce a volume of wastes in the festival.


In addition to the food stalls, a variety of organisations opened amusement booths to explain their daily activities for ecology and Katano. CIMG8390-2(resized)In the Katano Tourist Association’s booth, for example, children tried to make toys using wooden chopsticks and rubber bands. Katano Bin Collection Agency (KBCA) introduced where and how our rubbish is recycled. As mentioned in my website (I Love Katano), KBCA repairs and sends abandoned bicycles to those needed. In 2012, 80 repaired bicycles were donated to a high school in Sri Lanka. KBCA’s activities tell us that recycling in Katano is beneficial beyond borders.


A story telling event was also held at the planetarium hall. In the event, a story teller read picture books and some films dealing with environmental issues were played using a planetarium screen. The event fully entertained the audiences. A former Katano City Assembly member, Mr. Akira Sakamoto, said “Although the planetarium machine itself does not work, we would like to use this hall through various events such as music and Rakugo performances”.



Poster Exhibition by EarthKAM

Finally, I would like to talk about a bit academic exhibition in the festival. Kansai Soka High School held a poster exhibition to rethink of our earth. The high school students organise a study group named “EarthKAM” and research cause and effect of environmental disruption. In the exhibition, the students explained to me what they had studied about an environmental issue so far. They said “what we learnt through our researches was that many-layered factors were increasing global environmental risks”.

As the students point out, the causes of environmental disruption are very complicate. Anti-ecological objects are produced not only from our daily lives but also from wars and large-scale accidents such as nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl and oil-polluted sea in the Gulf War. In addition, sociopathological factors (e.g. political corruption) also have direct and indirect impacts on our environment. Therefore, the environmental issues should be analysed and addressed using interdisciplinary methodologies.

Poster Exhibition by KBCA

Poster Exhibition by KBCA

It seems to me that Katano Ecology Festa was able to suggest some key agendas to deal with what to do for our earth through various recreations and exhibitions relating to environmental issues. The local events such as Katano Ecology Festa have an important role to enlighten the public on urgent problems we are confronting. As mentioned above, it is impossible to sort them out today. But, we have to learn how we can mitigate current environmental damages. Katano Ecology Festa gives us a clue to understand that anti-ecological objects we produce are badly influencing our earth.

We would like to express our gratitude to the staff members of Katano Bin Collection Agency who are collecting lots of our rubbishes through a whole year. We cannot sustain our comfortable lives without them. Katano Ecology Festa is the best chance for us to know not only urgent environmental issues but also their tough jobs underpinning our daily lives in Katano.




(1) World Meteorological Organisation (2013)

“A summary of current climate change findings and figures” [retrieved on April 10th 2016].

(2) “Tuvalu and Global Warming” [retrieved on April 10th 2016]

Thank you for reading my short essay.

My two websites also provide you with helpful information about Katano City and Hirakata City.

I Love Katano

Hirakata Now

Author: Dr. K.S.

2016年5月9日 | カテゴリー : English essay | 投稿者 : Dr.K.S.

The 4th Ohinasama Exhibition @ Katano City Museum

CIMG8148Katano City Museum of History and Folklore kicked off one of the annual exhibition events from February 5th (until March 31st). The exhibition displays historical Hina dolls and other ornaments relating to the Hinamatsuri festival on March 3rd.

In the Hinamatsuri festival, many families decollate a kit of Hina dolls in order to pray for healthy grow of their daughters. The set of Hina doll includes two main dolls and other female and male attendants. The two main dolls are called “Ohinasama” and “Odairisama”. “Ohinasama” is a female doll and “Odairisama” is a male doll.お雛様ポスター2016 It is said that their costumes derive from the Heian-noble style in which female nobles have worn several layers of colourful Kimonos.

Katano City Museum collects various historical Hina dolls which have been donated by Katano’s citizens. Mr. Tomofumi Yoshida who is an officer of Katano Education Board says that the museum has about 30 kits of Hina dolls in total. This event displays some Hina dolls which have been made between the Meiji period and the middle of the Showa period.




At the entrance of the museum, “Gotenbina” that has been a popular style in the Kansai area until the beginning of the Showa period welcomes visitors. “Goten” is a palace for nobles and is modelled on a Heian-noble’s palace. In other words, a kit of Hina dolls describes a wedding scene of the so-called Japanese knickerbocker society in the Heian period. In the wedding ceremony, many maids served luxurious dishes to participants and a noble band played ancient Japanese music called “Gagaku”. General people might yearn for such a noble’s gorgeous way of life. Through Hina dolls, they might wish their daughters could spend a happy life as the Heian-nobles did. This is my impression of “Gotenbina”. Of course, you will be able to feel other images from this exhibition.

Interestingly, Japanese dolls called “Ichimatsuningyo” are placed with the Hina dolls. The origin of “Ichimatsu” doll derives from Ichimatsu Sanogawa who is one of outstanding Kabuki actors in the Edo period. The pattern of his Kimono was called “Ichimatsu Moyo” and was employed for the doll. Mr. Yoshida says that Ichimatsu dolls used to be a popular toy for girls to play. Decollating Hina doll and Ichimatsu doll together was a common manner of enjoying the Hinamatsuri festival. This convention was continued until the early Showa period.



The oldest Hina doll style in the museum is “Kyohobina (Kyoho-style Hina dolls)”. “Kyoho” is the Kyoho period from 1716 to 1736. At that time, Tokugawa Shogunate employed an austerity policy in order to mitigate damage of a large-scale famine in west Japan and to rebalance the Shogunate’s budget. Consequently, making and owning luxurious goods were prohibited by Yoshimune Tokugawa who was the 8th shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate. However, it was meaningless for people to display simple Hina dolls. They cleverly hid colourful Hina dolls from monitoring by Shogunate’s authorities and never stopped beautiful Hina festivals.

The headdress of the female Kyohobina

The headdress of the female Kyohobina

The female Kyohobina in the museum is also wearing a splendid circular headdress. It is said that the headdress has been modelled on that of Standing Statue of Kannon in Haisenjyuji Temple in Kisaichi. Nobody knows when the Kyoho-style Hina dolls have been made. A few years ago, Iwafune Elementary School donated them to the museum. Now, they are one of the Hina dolls which make the museum event special.


Kitchen tool ornaments

Kitchen tool ornaments

In this event, the five steps Hina decollation is being displayed for the first time. They were made in the early Showa period. The gorgeous decollation is based on the image of Kyoto Imperial Palace. Furthermore, the various ornaments of kitchen tools are also being exhibited. In the Kansai area, Hina dolls were regarded as a piece of the marriage furniture that a bride had to take to her new house. Therefore, a female Hina doll also took the kitchen tools as the bride did.



Ms. Kurisu (Left), Mr. Yoshida (Centre), Mr. Takao (Right)

You will be able to learn how our ancestors have celebrated the Hina festival from the middle of the 18th century to the beginning of the 20th century through this exhibition. Mr. Yoshida, Mr. Hideshi Takao (a voluntary museum guide), and Ms. Kumiko Kurisu (a part-time archivist) say “We always welcome your coming to the Katano City Museum. We hope our exhibition hooks many people”. The museum opens from Wednesday to Sunday (10a.m. to 5p.m.). The admission fee is free.


Katano City Museum of History and Folklore

9-21 Kuraji 6 Chome

It is a five-minute walk from Keihan Minami Kuraji Bus Stop.

For further information of the museum, please see my webpage.



I owe many thanks to Mr. Tomofumi Yoshida, Mr. Hideshi Takao, and Ms. Kumiko Kurisu. Mr. Yoshida explained to me the details of the exhibitions. I also would like to express my gratitude to Katano Education Board that allowed me to upload this article on the official website of Katano Tourist Association.

Thank you for reading my short essay.

My two websites also provide you with helpful information about Katano City and Hirakata City.

I Love Katano

Hirakata Now

Author: Dr. K.S.

2016年2月12日 | カテゴリー : English essay | 投稿者 : Dr.K.S.

Trekking Katano

On December 26th 2015, I walked a trekking route from Green Village Katano to Iwafune Shrine with other three members; Mr. Yoshiya Sato, Mr. Shuji Takao, and Mr. Akio Katano. Mr. Sato always spends his full energy to promote Katano as director of Katano Tourist Association. Mr. Takao is a member of Katano Old Cultural History Club and one of the authorities of Katano’s history and culture. Mr. Katano lives in China for his business. The reason why Mr. Katano came to our town was to research the historical roots of his family in Katano.

In this essay, I am frequently using the following terms, “Mr. Katano” and “Katano”. “Mr. Katano” indicates a person’s name, Mr. Akio Katano. When using “Katano”, it means a town name, Katano City.

His concern is to trace his family history back to ancient Japan. He thinks his current clan derives from the Mononobe family that is one of regional ruling groups in the 7th century. Particularly, a regional ruling group that was living in Katano was called ‘Katano Mononobe’.

The purpose of this trekking tour was to introduce some of Katano’s historical and travel spots to Mr. Katano who came to our town for the first time and to rediscover Katano’s superiority to other cities in terms of tourism. Katano has a lot of historical and mysterious spots such as Sanskrit-carved rocks in Konosan and Orihimeiwa in Hoshida Myoken Gu Shrine. The goal of this trekking was Iwafune Shrine that has a magnificent and mysterious story relating to the birth of Japan.

We gathered at Green Village Katano at noon and headed to Hoshida Park by walk. A trekking trail along Amanogawa River was embraced by fresh wind and birds chirping. Occasionally, Mr. Sato told us the plants along the path. He said that there was a custom in which people transplanted Japanese cypresses when having girls in order to give new furniture to brides. But such a custom has disappeared as time goes by. Now the Japanese cypresses are quietly listening to hikers’ chatting.


2We saw a big tourist coach parked at the car park in Hoshida Park. Mr. Kazuyoshi Tanaka who was the general manager of Osaka Fumin no Mori Hokubu Enchi told us that many foreign visitors, particularly from China, came to Hoshida Park in recent years. He also said “a problem is that our staff cannot speak any foreign languages. Therefore, we sometimes have a difficulty in communicating with foreign visitors”.



Last autumn, I received a lot of emails from foreign travellers who attempted to come to Katano. The reason why they emailed me was to ask how to get to Katano and Hoshi no Buranko. I feel very shame that Katano is still a minor city among foreign travellers. However, Hoshi no Buranko is becoming popular due to the fact that it has been introduced as one of autumn spots in Osaka by several travel websites. Of course, my website has a page for Hoshi no Burako ( Hoshi no Burako shows us various appearances every season. Particularly, in autumn, a fantastical red sea coloured by autumn leaves surrounds the bridge. Many visitors including foreign travellers come there in order to see beautiful autumn scenery.

4We climbed up to the highest view spot where we were able to see Hoshi no Buranko below. From the view spot, we can see other sightseeing spots in central Osaka and Kyoto such as Osaka Business Buildings and Kyoto Tower. Unfortunately, when we went there, it was cloudy. So, everyone thought to give up seeing the faraway spots. In particular, I cannot do that without glasses for short-sight even if it is the fine weather. I did not have them at the time. But, Mr. Sato found Kyoto Tower from between the clouds. Then I reconfirmed the difference in short sight and far sight.

We walked down to the next spot. Iwafune Shrine is said to be one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan. The reason is that Iwafune Shrine employed an ancient shrine style that has only altar. Other shrines such as Ise Jingu Shrine and Sumiyoshi Shrine have an altar (Haiden) for people to give offerings and a shrine (Shinden) for a deity to live. Iwafune Shrine, however, enshrines a big rock as a deity. Allegedly, the big rock is the ship by which Nigihayahi no Mikoto has arrived at Kawachi no Kuni (currently Katano).


In Japanese mythology, Amaterasu Omikami who was the deity of sun asked her grandson to control Yamato no Kuni (currently Nara). The grandson was Nigihayahi. But, some people may say “Hang on! That’s a Ninigi no Mikoto’s story in Takachiho”. Of course, there is another story in which Ninigi was asked to control Takachiho by Amaterasu. He was also one of her grandsons. It is true that Ninigi’s story is more well-known than Nigihayahi’s among Japanese. Although it is quite difficult to judge which is true, Nigihayahi’s story tells us that Katano may have played a significant role in Japanese history.


In Iwafune Shrine, we met Mr. Akihiko Nishikado who was the chief priest. Mr. Katano explained his relationship with Katano and he had a big interest in the history of Iwafune Shrine to Mr. Nishikado. As I mentioned above, the Katano Mononobe family managed Katano until the 7th century. It is said that their first ancestor was Nigihayahi no Mikoto and Iwafune Shrine was established near the big rock for enshrining Nigihayahi.


Iwafune Shrine has a rock cave formed by wash. After the medieval era, many practitioners of Shugendo that is one of Buddhism groups in Japan tried the rock cave in order to train themselves in a severe environment. It is very dark and slippy. Therefore, there was possibility of death if they fell into the bottom of the cave. But, now small bridges are placed between the gaps in order for the general challengers to try the rock cave safely. I tried it before. The inside of the cave was very quiet and bright sunshine lighted mossy rocks. The atmosphere was pretty fantastic.

7In the end, we had a small party at Tsukinoya. Mr. Yoshiro Murata and Mr. Motoaki Kitagawa joined our party. Mr. Murata is in charge of public relations in Katano Old Cultural History Club as well as Mr. Takao. He has the most historical website introducing Katano City, Hoshi no Machi Katano ( Mr. Kitagawa is the Vice Director of Katano Tourist Association. He organises various events to advertise Katano to people in Japan. Tsukinoya served very yummy chicken dishes and local Sakes, Katano Sakura. I felt very sorry not to drink Katano Sakura due to the fact that I came to Green Village Katano by scooter.

I was able to enjoy the party as well as other participants. I think, through this trekking tour, we were able to share the same recognition that Katano still has a lot of potentials to hook many travellers. I would like to express my gratitude for Mr. Sato who has given us an opportunity to rethink of our hometown. I also say “Thank you” to other members who have had a nice chat with me; Mr. Takao, Mr. Katano, Mr. Murata, and Mr. Kitagawa.


Author: Dr. K.S.

Thank you for reading my short essay.

My two websites also provide various information relating to Katano & Hirakata in English.

I Love Katano (

Hirakata Now (

26th January 2016

2016年1月27日 | カテゴリー : English essay | 投稿者 : 管理者