Aoi Festival Heroine Views Junihitoe as the Weight of TraditionSixth Mother-Daughter Saio-dai
The Aoi Festival is one of Kyoto's three major festivals and will be held on May 15. Shiho Sakashita, a company employee from Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, was selected as the 63rd "Saio-dai," or heroine of the Aoi Festival. The "Aoi-Matsuri Gyoretsu Hozonkai," or Aoi Festival procession conservation group, made the announcement on April 13.
Sakashita is the oldest daughter of Ryuichi Sakashita, president of a foreign-owned investment company. She attended the procession in the role of "Uneme," or a court lady, in 2009. She graduated from Doshisha University this spring and has worked at an air-conditioning equipment manufacturer from April. Her hobby is traditional Kyoto dancing, flower arrangement and the bamboo flute. Miho, her mother and executive managing director of Honke Yatsuhashi Nishio Co., Ltd., in Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, also served as "Saio-dai" in 1988. They are the sixth mother-daughter set to have served as "Saio-dai."
During the press conference at a hotel in Kamigyo Ward, Sakashita said, "I am so honored and happy to play the role of "Saio-dai," as my mother once served. I have some worries, but I will try to perform my duties as best I can as I hold this great responsibility." In addition, she smilingly said, "I like to wear kimono, so I look forward to wearing a multilayered 'Junihitoe' kimono. I have heard that 'Junihitoe' feels heavy as it weighs approximately 20 kilograms. I believe its weight to be the heaviness of tradition, and I will do my best."
The Saio-dai is based on Saio, an imperial princess who served both the Kamigamo and Shimogamo shrines. The role was revived in 1956.(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)