Young children have their own special place of affection in the culture of Japan, and their adolescent world of make-believe is well catered for in establishments like Dreamland, a funfair set up in Ofuna, near Yokohama.
SV Children carrying toys approach altar and place same
MCU Children placing toys on altar
SV Priest at altar
CU Priest blessing toys
CU Small girl watching
GV Two adults wearing comic garb
SV Priest blesses children
CU Boy reading prayer
MS Toys loaded on to cart
CU Cart leaves ZOOM IN to children waving goodbye
Initials OS/1553 RR/OS/1600
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Background: Young children have their own special place of affection in the culture of Japan, and their adolescent world of make-believe is well catered for in establishments like Dreamland, a funfair set up in Ofuna, near Yokohama.
It was here that children came from miles around on Wednesday (5 May) to take part in the country's annual Children's Day, while their parents enjoyed the public holiday of the Fast of Flags.
But for many of the children part of the day, at least, meant a little more than just being given a day out. They took their favourite possessions - old, battered toys and playthings - to place as offerings on an altar while a Shinto priest held a special "funeral" service for the damaged relics of many happy hours.
SYNOPSIS: Children's day at the Dreamland Funfair park at Ofuna, near Yokohama. But for many of these Japanese youngsters, it meant more than just a day out. They were to offer up to Heaven their oldest, most battered, but still favourite playthings. Legless dolls, trains with no wheels, and torn plastic ducks were carefully placed on a specially constructed altar.
For the adults, it was a public holiday - the Feast of Flags. But for the Shinto priest and the children the time had come to part with old and trusted friends.
Watched by his young congregation, the priest conducted a funeral service. Appropriately, a small boy read the message, and solemnly thanked the broken toys for their past services to the children gathered at the altar, and they waved a final goodbye to their old playmates. Young children have their own special place of affection in the culture of Japan, and the little ones' world of make-believe is well catered for on a day like this in Dreamland.