The 59th Seiwa Genji Festival was held on April 16th, 2023, in Kawanishi City, Hyogo Prefecture, which is renowned as the birthplace of the Seiwa Genji clan. The festival showcased about 220 participants, including courageous horseback warriors, child warriors, and a procession of young children. The venue for the event was Asta Kawanishi. As the nostalgic parade passed through the streets, approximately 18,000 people from both within and outside the city gathered to witness the magnificent historical scenes against the backdrop of the lush greenery of spring.
The Seiwa Genji Festival was held in the central district of Kawanishi City and focused on the historical significance of the Tada area. Before the main nostalgic procession, an event occurred at 10:20 am in Asta Kawanishi Peepu Square, in front of Kawanishi-Noseguchi Station. The event featured warriors donning armor and helmets, and Kenjiro Koshida, the mayor of Kawanishi City, appeared dressed as a warrior. He delivered a speech alongside three female attendants, including Tomoe Gozen and young warrior actors, which stirred up the crowd.
The main event of the festival, the nostalgic procession, commenced at 10:50 am from Asta Kawanishi Peepu Square (2-25 Sakaemachi). The parade, which included 220 participants, consisted of Seiwa Genji warriors donning armor and helmets, three female attendants (Tomoe Gozen, Tokiwa Gozen, and Shizu Gozen), and young warriors like Hachiman Taro Yoshiie. Then, they all walked on foot to the city hall.
Upon arrival at the city hall, the procession merged with the children’s parade and the march of young warriors waiting. With horseback warriors at the rear, the combined procession of 220 individuals set off again and proceeded towards Kixela Kawanishi Seseragi Park (Hiuchi 1-chome). Many people came to witness the magnificent and opulent nostalgic parade.
Erika Ogawa, who portrayed the character of Tomoe Gozen, expressed her delight in participating in the prestigious Seiwa Genji festival held in Kawanishi City. She stated, “I am thrilled to have been a part of this historical event. I want to promote the goodness of Kawanishi today and in the future in various places to help invigorate the city.”
About the history related to the Seiwa Genji festival
Over a millennium ago, Minamotono Mitsunaka, a descendant of the 56th Emperor Seiwa, migrated to Tada Basin in Kawanishi and established Tada Shrine (now Tada Shrine) over a millennium ago, in the first year of Tenroku (970), thereby laying the foundation for the Seiwa Genji clan. Later, Mitsunaka’s son’s descendants, including Minamotono Yoritomo, the founder of the Kamakura Shogunate, and other well-known Minamoto warriors throughout Japan, brought fame to Kawanishi City as the “birthplace of the Genji and samurai clans.” Therefore, the Seiwa Genji festival is held annually to commemorate Mitsunaka and to promote the history, culture, and tourism of “Kawanishi, the birthplace of the Seiwa Genji.”