“Oyakata-sama!” Warrior voices thundered over the crowd to encourage their lord on to combat, to never give in and to battle for true faith. “Ei, ei, oooooooh!” Samurai responded to the order of battle to death.
To commemorate the great battle of faith in 1555, Iwakuni City held the 27th annual Kuragake Castle Festival and Samurai Parade. This year, five U.S. Marines from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni participated in the march garbed in traditional samurai costume and shouting their battle cry.
November 20, 2016 - U.S. Marines from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni pose for a picture at the 27th annual Kuragake Festival and Samurai Parade in Iwakuni City, Japan. The Marines were transformed from service members to samurai warroirs with traditional samurai armor, swords, spears and helmets before marching down the streets of Kuga demonstrating their strength and courage before going to battle. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Nicole Zurbrugg)
In preparation for “battle,” participants were ushered into a makeshift dressing room and transformed from civilian to samurai warrior. Decked out in armor, head gear, swords and spears, the troops practiced their war cries before marching down the streets to a local temple to pray for safety and strength.
“During my transformation to a samurai, I was amazed at how similar the samurai and Marines are,” said U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Waiyan Tin, a combat videographer and parade participant stationed at MCAS Iwakuni. “The samurai were not afraid to sacrifice themselves in order to protect their families and land.”
Emboldened from prayer, the warriors, marched to the town square to convince their lord that they were ready for battle.
“Our squad's role was to be the advance group leading the troops into battle and trying to keep the massive enemy at bay as long as possible,” said Kida Shoji, an event participant and advance squad chief.
Falling into formation at the town square, the chiefs joined the lord in front to help plead the warriors longing for battle. The warriors cast their voices loud, “Oyakata-sama! (My lord!)” to show their motivation and dedication. Convinced, the lord called for a battle to death. The samurai responded with a motivated, “Ei, ei, ooooooooh!”
“It was so impressive and I felt so much power and strength from walking in the same squad as the Marines,” said Shoji. “This is a great opportunity to have U.S. and Japanese citizens get together and I absolutely want the Marines to come back next year.”
The service members and Japanese posed for pictures with onlookers, feasted on traditional Japanese cuisine and enjoyed the colorful festival.
“I felt humble and appreciative of being a part of such an amazing culture that is rich in tradition,” said Tin. “Being able to participate with the local Japanese people was such a great experience.”
By U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole Zurbrugg
Provided through DVIDS
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