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Okame and Hyottoko

Posted by
L'explorateur (Vancouver, Canada) on 11 February 2011 in Lifestyle & Culture.

A color-negative image of two famous Japanese masks: 火男 (hyottoko, the male on the right) and お亀 (okame, the female on the left). They seem to have been legendary characters in the past and now they are masks used in Shinto theatrical dance and in matsuri (Japanese festivals).
The origin of the names is uncertain. As far as Hyottoko is concerned, the name is made of 火 (hi, fire) and 男 (otoko, man) because the character blows out the flame in the kitchen stove with a bamboo stick (thus the shape of his mouth) and it could be that local dialects transformed it into Hyottoko.


Okame e Hyottoko
Il negativo di una fotografia di due famose maschere giapponesi. 火男 (hyottoko, la maschera maschile sulla destra) e お亀 (okame, quella femminile sulla sinistra). Sono stati personaggi leggendari nel passato ed ora sono due maschere usate nelle danze teatrali Shintoiste e nei matsuri, le festività Giapponesi. L’origine dei loro nomi è incerta. Per esempio, il nome Hyottoko potrebbe originare da 火 (hi, fuoco) and 男 (otoko, uomo), perchè rappresenterebbe un personaggio che soffia sul fuoco della cucina con una canna di bambù (da cui la bocca distorta). Il nome si sarebbe poi trasformato in Hyottoko.
Taken on Aug 20, 2007, in Matsushima, close to Sendai.
Scattata il 20 Agosto 2007, a Matsushima, vicino a Sendai.

KODAK DX6490 ZOOM 1/350 second F/2.8 ISO 400 38 mm (35mm equiv.)

CElliottUK from Reading, United Kingdom

The reversal makes them look as though they are made of chocolate-not good for a fire-man!!

11 Feb 2011 7:06am

@CElliottUK: Chocolate! This could be and interesting business! :D

٭ ƸɼiϾ ٭ from Narbonne, France

now i know, dark vader comme from japan :-)))))))
have a nice day simone

11 Feb 2011 7:18am

@٭ ƸɼiϾ ٭: eh eh! Yes, and not only one!

tataray from france, France

En chocolat ? ... ))
Des "bouilles" très drôles.

11 Feb 2011 9:37am

@tataray: AH AH Nice expression "bouilles très drôles" :D

Manuel Hompanera from La Robla, Spain

Preciosas máscaras y bonita composición.

11 Feb 2011 12:25pm

✿ Anina ✿ from Auckland, New Zealand

At first I thought they were lollies made of chocolate :) Wonderful colours and composition. And thanks so much for the very interesting information. Okame seems sweeter than Hyottoko :)

11 Feb 2011 9:22pm

@✿ Anina ✿: Anina, thank you so much for your nice comment. Hyottoko looks funnier, though :P

Gary from Cochise County, United States

Totally different, fun and thanks to you, informative.

13 Feb 2011 6:53am

Franz from Baden, Austria

hey, i like this effect (as i like experimenting with these techniques myself) and the interesting explanation that goes with the image! the "female" masks reminds me of a pear!

15 Feb 2011 1:33pm

@Franz: I actually took some inspiration from your recent posts! :D

Mj007 from Osaka, Japan

hahaha, i like it xDDD ひょっとこ☆

15 Feb 2011 1:51pm

@Mj007: 私もひょっとこの方が好きです!:)

1/350 second
ISO 400
38 mm (35mm equiv.)