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The Giant Lantern at Kaminarimon Gate | Panasonicch.04

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Click on the image to watch the video. Length: 5 min 02 sec
Many worshippers and tourists from Japan and abroad gather at Senso-ji Temple's Kaminarimon. [0 min 33 sec]

One of Tokyo's most famous tourist destinations, Kaminarimon at Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa, attracts many worshippers and tourists. It actually burnt down in 1865 and was left in that state for 95 years until Panasonic's founder, Konosuke Matsushita (Matsushita Electric Industrial Company at that time), undertook its reconstruction gratis. Ever since, Panasonic has donated a new paper lantern once every decade. This video introduces scenes from the replacement of the lantern that took place this year. Included is footage from the Asakusa area in the 1960's with the celebration of the Kaminarimon's reconstruction as well as craftsmen in Kyoto making the paper lantern.

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Taste of Edo inherited by modern day Asakusa

The Asakusa area with the Senso-ji Temple and Kaminarimon is a bustling area of Tokyo. But did you know that the Kaminarimon, known as the face of Asakusa today, actually burnt down in 1865 and was left in that state for nearly 95 years?

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Many worshippers come to Kinryuzan, Senso-ji Temple. [0 min 07 sec]

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Kaminarimon, the familiar main gate of the Senso-ji Temple. [0 min 24 sec]

Matsushita Electric rebuilt and donated the Kaminarimon, 95 years after the fire

With the desire to see the "Kaminarimon in Asakusa once again," Konosuke Matsushita rebuilt the Kaminarimon gratis. The ceremony celebrating the reconstruction in the 1960s is featured in this video report. You can not only see what the ceremony was like, but this video also features an interview with Konosuke Matsushita and rare scenes of the bustling Nakamise-dori in the 1960s.

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The celebration of the reconstruction of Kaminarimon, 95 years after the fire. [0 min 44 sec]

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Konosuke Matsushita cutting the tape at the opening of Kaminarimon. [1 min 01 sec]

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Panasonic's founder also expressed his joy of being able to reconstruct the Kaminarimon. [1 min 11 sec]

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Footage of Nakamise-dori showing the lively atmosphere at the time. [1 min 16 sec]

Replacement of the lanterns every decade

Panasonic's relationship with the Kaminarimon after its rebirth has continued. To renew its ties, Panasonic donates a new lantern once every decade. This video report also introduces how these gigantic lanterns are made.

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Takahashi Chochin (paper lantern) has been around since the Edo period. The lantern being made here is the 5th generation. [2 min 42 sec]

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"I make each one with great ambition," says Mr. Takahashi, president of Takahashi Chochin. [3 min 02 sec]

Hanging of the lantern

The finished lantern is shipped by truck from Kyoto. Because it is too big to fit through the highway gates, the driver has to take regular roads all the way to Kaminarimon in Tokyo. Please take a look at scenes of the staff working to replace and hang the lantern.

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The new lantern is carefully hung on Kaminarimon. [3 min 34 sec]

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The Japanese characters on the nameplate read "Matsushita Electric", the name Panasonic was known by at the time of the reconstruction. [4 min 05 sec]

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The staff gather for the lantern hanging. [4 min 16 sec]

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The new lantern is replaced and becomes the face of Asakusa. [4 min 50 sec]