Candle night (05)

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Candle night (kyandoru naito, Japan)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Mid-Summer
***** Category: Observance


A network of Japanese grassroots groups (http://www.candle-night.org) and the Environment Ministry are jointly calling on the public to turn off the lights for two hours on the summer solstice with the dual purpose of saving energy and enjoying candlelight and darkness.

Loot at the lights vanishing

Sakamoto San, London 2004


The "Candle Night Summer Solstice 2005" will be held this year from 8 to 10 p.m. (your local time) on the evenings of June 18 through 21. Promoted under the slogan of "Turn off the lights, and take it slow," this will be the fifth such event (including winter solstices) since 2003.

The event encourages people to turn off their lights and to enjoy some quality time in candlelight for two hours on the evening of the summer solstice. Its promoters are appealing to a wide audience with a concept that goes beyond energy conservation, anti-nuclear and other political messages. More than 6,000 major buildings and structures in Japan turned off their lights during the 2004 summer event, and an estimated six million people participated.

A variety of events are being planned in many locations this year, mainly on June 18 and 19. The MOE is recommending that lights in public and private structures be turned off on Sunday, June 19. This year, Tokyo Tower, one of the top landmarks in the country, will be participating again by turning its lights off at the specified time on that night.

The Candle Night event is enjoying a wave of popularity in Japan, across all sectors of society -- the government, municipalities, business and the public. It offers an open opportunity for people to enjoy themselves in their own ways -- spending the time with the family or a loved one, enjoying quiet time or the beauty of the stars, reviewing their lifestyles, or thinking about peace, the global environment, energy saving, or global warming.



As the modern world seems to get ever smaller and to run at an increasingly faster pace, opportunities to enjoy peace and quiet to take the time to reflect on things are few and far between. These days there are few homes where it's possible to escape the constant hum of electric appliances. The prospect of a new "oil shock" is focusing the attention of many on the scarcity of the resources upon which our modern way of life depends.

Japan can probably lay claim to being the most illuminated country on the planet. The neon skyscapes of Tokyo are famous the world over, and it's not unusual to find even the most remote locations bathed in a warm glow of light from one of Japan's 5 million vending machines (one for almost every 20 people). Tourists and courting couples flock to "night view" spots where people are excited to have their pictures taken in front of illuminations. A group of Japanese organizations however, are calling for us to pull the plug and take a time out from electricity.

Meiji Gakuin University professor and author of the best seller Suro izu biutifuru (Slow Is Beautiful), Keibo Oiwa, is one of the organizers. He is also one of the founders of the Sloth Club, a Japanese non-governmental organization that advocates the conservation of environmental and cultural diversity. In an article for the Japan Times in the run up to last year's solstice event he is quoted as saying, "This kind of voluntary blackout should not be just an energy-saving initiative, it should also be a starting point for cultural resurgence, for regaining a sense of beauty, fun and peace of mind."


● Light a Peace Candle ●
Turn off the electric light and light a candle--
Let's start a "Slow Life" with a candle for peace and sustainability--


Worldwide use

Things found on the way


candle night
hand in hand up the stairs
to find the bed

As far as Kenya is concerned, we have candle nights quite often --not as kigo on a particular night of the year! Power failures can occur all year round...

Isabelle Prondzynski


candle night -
thoughts turn to things
long lost

Gabi Greve, 2005


candle night -
the beetles looking
for some fun

 © Gabi Greve, 2007 with more photos HERE.

Related words

***** Light offerings afloat (tooroo nagashi) : kigo for early autumn
Buddhist Rituals in Japan.

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Anonymous said...

summer solstice
mother turns off the lights
I take it slow

Geert Verbeke

Anonymous said...

summer solstice---
I click glasses
with shadows

Fred Masarani


Anonymous said...

candle night
slow and slow
hearing rain sound

rainy season start here



Anonymous said...

candlelight --
a few more stars blink


Anonymous said...

Her lonely grief
melts in the candle wax
evening's dark floor

Ram Krishna Singh, India