WHAT IS THE THUNDER PAPA? –ASAKUSA, THE 23RD OF SEPTEMBER
Thank you for joining our Tokyo Free Walking Tour in Asakusa.
On the day of our two-guided tours, on the 23rd of September, we welcomed 20 guests on our walking tour.
Guests were from different regions of the world, including Australia, Brazil, Czech France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, and U.S.A.
After a humid and scorching weather, the summer season is finally over and the autumn season has now entered without noticing it.
Speaking of the autumn season, it normally intensifies our sense of melancholy.
In the rural areas of Tokyo, most of the vibrant green paddy fields are now gradually turning into gold color.
The appearance of riots of seasonal insects like red dragon flies in parks and fields clearly signify the Autumn season.
Additionally, an excess number of typhoons have been frequently hindering our outdoor activities and plans.
All of these show the real arrival of the autumn season in Japan.
Even in the changes in our surroundings, we can still feel the atmosphere of the summer season as we were able to meet the 20 energetic visitors of Asakusa areas.
After overlooking the entire Asakusa district from the rooftop of the Asakusa Information Center, we moved to a gorgeous gate called Kaminarimon Gate, or a thunder gate in English.
This red-painted gate is the entrance of the compound of Sensoji Buddhist Temple
The picture of Kaminarimon Gate is frequently used on the cover of the Japanese guide books.
In addition, these printed images are also seen on the packages of Japanese souvenirs.
This time we would like to talk about the thunder and its related topic, the “thunder papa”.
—The “Thunder Papa”—
In the past, when it came to the topic of discussing fears, the top sources of fear among Japanese people were usually earthquakes, thunder, fire, and “papa”.
Obviously, we’ve had countless earthquakes since the ancient times, and some of them have caused catastrophic destructions to our country. Likewise, accidental disasters like fire, and natural phenomenon like thunderstorms have damaged lands, properties, and lives of people.
Even now, these occurrences are still continually considered as threats in our lives, and are normally a source of fear.
Ranking among these destructive phenomena as a great source of fear is “papa”.
Well, what is papa and what does it look like, then?
Is papa disastrous?
To simply put it, papa is father. In the past, papa had a great presence in his family’s life and this presence can be associated to the thunder.
Fathers with this kind of parenting style were called a “thunder papa”. This is because, like thunder, papa strikes fear and is quite intimidating to children.
The “thunder papa” uses discipline to supervise his children and also other children in the community.
With their fatherly style, the thunder papas strictly had their children educated and guided to the right direction, and they also believe in not indulging their beloved children at all times.
In the present generation, the characteristics of the thunder papa can only be seen rarely among fathers, because it seems that papas nowadays have become slightly lenient towards their families.
However, in Asakusa, the imagery of the thunder resides at the entrance of the Buddhist temple like the “thunder papa” to secure all visitors and to protect this sacred temple.