Here are some nice photos I took at Hiraoka jinja Shrine 2018.
(Top: Laughing contest! )
Warai Shinji , the laughter is held on Dec. 23rd, a national holiday, ccurrent Emperor Akihito's birthday.
Actually, it was his 85th birthday, and according to the news, as many as 82,850 people got gather at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo to celebrate his birthday. This number was the highest ever in Heisei era, and I think it was due to the fact that it marked his last birthday as an Emperor.
(12/23 Emperor's birthday celebration at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo)
In the morning at Hiraoka Shrine, Shimenawa sacred rope was replaced with new one. About the laughter ritual, following
Wa Ha Ha!! by the head priest's big laughing sound, all those gathered started to laugh together, rhythmically.
The total amount of time is 20 minutes and the first 5 minutes is the most tough one ...as were not get used to laugh aloud. Way later, I learned a trick to make a burst of deep loud hearty laugh. Mmmm, there are many people who god dressed in funny costumes. But I felt more potential to make people laugh naturally with some visual aids, etc.
There were TV news broadcasters were filming the event, I'm sure, objectly, we must have looked pretty funny..
Wow, laughing can be very powerful together with so many people.
Do you think this kind of ritual is stupid and non sense?
As a matter of fact, not at all! Today, the modern scientist has proven that laughs and smiles has a lot of health benefits for our body and mind. We should no longer under estimate the simple power of laughs and smiles free of charge.
I know a group of people who practice "Warai Yoga", literally,"Laughing Yoga".
One of the leading person in this opinion of promoting laughter in our lives is, Dr. Kazuo Murakami. He was born in Tenri city in Nara prefecture, known as one of the worldʼs leading genetic researchers. He wrote many books on genes, mind, life, etc. Some are translated to English. His unique findings were featured by 2 documentary films, and he is actively talks to people in lectures, exchange opinions with religious people like Dalai Lama, etc.
With his studies, he pursues human's infinite possibility.
Dr. Murakami says,
Among all the genes, only 5 % are active (turned on) among most people.
People can become happy and healthy by turning on good genes. There are some switch-like functions in
"have a cheerful heart"
"being touched/ moved "
"think about each matter or incident in a good direction"= to become a positive thinker.
When thinking positively, good hormones are made in the brain with good effect of healing power, too.
He is talking based on his life long research.
Another good news is, the Head Priest Nakahigashi at Hiraoka Shrine, was awarded by Higashi Osaka city, in August 2018 for widely promoting the "Laughter Ritual" among the public. As many as 4,000 people gathered this year.
Being interviewed, he answered, "I would like to connect the world with laughter by further increasing the number of participants."