Marines bear samurai armor, partake in historical tradition
KUGA, IWAKUNI, Japan -- Marines from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, participated in the Kuragake Castle Festival in Kuga, Iwakuni, Nov. 22, 2015.
The local festival honors the Kuga samurai who urged their castle lord to take a last stand against a much larger enemy force.
“As Marines, we have an opportunity to be part of what Iwakuni has to offer,” said Lance Cpl. Nathan Wicks, mass communicator with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron. “I was very enthused for the chance to wear samurai armor.”
Marines and Japanese locals marched from Kuga train station to the town square before they reenacted the final confrontation of samurai who marched to battle in the 16th century.
“The Marines are so professional with their behavior and marching,” said Nobuhiro Higuchi, festival participant from Kuga, Iwakuni, Japan. “All of the Marines looked like they enjoyed being in costume, and I heard a lot of chit-chat out in town of people saying, ‘I want to take a picture with them,’ or ‘they look so cool.’”
After the reenactment, the samurai retired their armor and enjoyed the festival with the Japanese locals who provided an assortment of food and drinks and afforded the Marines more opportunities to interact with the Kuga community.
Event coordinators hope in the upcoming years Marines are provided the opportunity to perform bigger roles in traditional celebrations and that more Marines partake in the festivals.
“As you can tell, the community cherishes the traditions here,” said Tatsumari Fujioka, event coordinator and advisor from Kuga, Iwakuni. “I hope more Marines come out to this community and enjoy our culture. It’s a nice community with nice people as well.”