Date Masamune Festival: a Grand Procession of Awe-Inspiring Warriors
Date Masamune resided in Iwadeyama, Osaki, Miyagi Prefecture, when he was a hot-blooded youth. He led an army of 3,000 fearless warriors and headed for Kyoto, the center of Japan of that period. With the stirrups patterned with tigers, leopards, bears or peacocks, Date Masamune’s samurais on horses wore half-moon-bearing armor, held golden tachi and had a commanding presence. To commemorate the history, local people hold the Date Masamune Festival (Masamune-kou Matsuri) on the second Sunday of September every year.
Date Masamune, a Hero in the History of Miyagi Prefecture
Speaking of the heroes in the history of Miyagi Prefecture, Date Masamune (1567-1636) living around the year 1600 in the Sengoku period is most worth mentioning.
Although he was robbed of his sight in his right eye by smallpox in his childhood, he still became the chief (“Katoku” in Japanese) of the Dan clan at the age of 17, began construction of Sendai Castle and the castle town in 1601 and became the first lord (daimyo) of Sendai. Later generations call him “one-eyed dragon” (dokuganryu), an honorific title originally given to LI Keyong, a famous general of the Tang Dynasty of China.
By the way, stylishly dressed men are nicknamed “a man of the Date” in Japan, which has its origin in Date Masamune’s preference for eye-catching attire.
A Procession of Warriors
The highlight of the Date Masamune Festival is a parade called “procession of warriors”. Wearing armor and ride warhorses, local volunteers march on Minamimachi Street (Minamimachi-dori). Each year numerous visitors are attracted to the festival.
There are also local scouts joining the parade!
Spectators may feel as if they were amid the magnificent scenery of a Taiga drama reenacting the history! So it is absolutely worthwhile for you to arrange such a visit!
Video on the Date Masamune Festival
Basic information on the Date Masamune Festival
- Minamimachi Street, Iwadeyama, Osaki
- September 10, 2017 (Sunday)
- About 10-minute walk from JR East’s Iwadeyama Station or 10-minute walk from JR East’s Yubikan Station.
- Official website (in Japanese)