Rika Ouno Selected as Aoi Festival's 64th Saio-daiFormer High School Lacrosse National Champion
Rika Ouno is the second daughter of Kazuo Ouno, who manages "Ouno Kungyokudo," a maker and seller of incense in Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto. She graduated from Doshisha University last September. This spring she began working for Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. While she was at Doshisha High School, she served as a captain of the lacrosse team. Her team won the national championship, and she was named the most valuable player. She began learning German during her high school days, and studied in Germany for a year during university. Her hobby is tea ceremony.
During a press conference held at a hotel in Kamigyo Ward, Ouno shared her recollections. "I was an elementary school student when I saw the Aoi Festival and was touched by the beauty of the women's procession." As she will be Saio-dai in the first Aoi Festival in Reiwa, or the symbolic reign of the new emperor, she said, "The Aoi Festival is the festival to pray for the peace and security of our country. I would like to play my role praying that the next reign is also peaceful. I will take care of my health to fulfill this duty."
The role of Saio-dai was restored in 1956, taken from the tradition of "Saio," or imperial princesses who served Kamigamo Shrine and Shimogamo Shrine in the Heian Period. The system of selecting a female commoner to replace the Saio was established then. Now the Saio-dai has become an integral part of the Aoi Festival.(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)