Okame Masks Returned To Their Rightful Place At Nikka Yuko : B93.3 FM : Lethbridge's #1 Hit Music Station : Lethbridge News, Alberta
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Okame Masks Returned To Their Rightful Place At Nikka Yuko


LETHRBIDGE:  Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens held a re-dedication of its Okame Masks Thursday morning. The three masks, which stem from a 600-year old Japanese legend, were installed in the Pavilion when it was erected in 1965, but were removed to allow for work on the Pavilion.


Nikka Yuko Executive Direcior, Lindy Rollingson, explained the legend, "Okame was the wife of a Japanese contractor who was building a very, very huge, beautiful pavilion there (in 1227), which is still standing in Japan today, and he happened to cut one of the cross beams too short. So, his wife suggested he put a brace on it and he did it and it worked".


Unfortunately, Okame committed suicide prior to the ridgepole raising to avoid shame on her husband for a woman having made the suggestion.


Rollingson says in memory of Okame, whenever a building of importance is erected, Okame Masks are placed in the rafters to wish good luck to the building and all those who enter.


The three original Okame masks were installed during a colourful Japanese ceremony at the Nikka Yuko Pavilion on Friday, December 17th, 1965, as the gardens were the first of their kind in Canada. Conducted by Reverend L. Kawamura, the ceremony included dedication of the three masks which symbolized a roof-raising ceremony during which the Buddha is asked to look favourably upon the building. At the ceremony, the then Lethbridge Mayor, Andy Anderson said,  This is one of the most talked about Centennial projects in Canada. There is nothing in the Western world outside of Japan, to compare with it.

Posted on Thursday, May 09, 2013 at 4/17/2014 11:29:38 AM
Source: Dori Modney (@Dori_Modney on Twitter) with files from Tristan Tuckett (@TristanTuckett) - Country 95 News Photo credits of Masks and rededication ceremony
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