Our focus is on the success of the artists and the residents of Hirono.
The committee is dedicated to that goal.


What is Torigoya?

Torigoya is a small New Year’s ritual that has been held in Hirono Town and Iwaki City on the Pacific side of Fukushima Prefecture. Koshogatsu is the 15th day of the first month of the lunar calendar. According to the lunar calendar, the first day of every month is always a new moon, and the 15th is always a full moon.

In other words, Koshogetsu is a festival to celebrate the first full moon of the year. Since ancient times, the Chinese have celebrated this night with numerous lanterns. This is why the small New Year’s day is called the Lantern Festival in English.

In Japan, people have celebrated the small New Year’s Eve with a big fire to pray for a good harvest since ancient times. In places where sericulture was practiced, people made balls resembling cocoons out of rice cakes and stuck them in tree branches to pray for the success of sericulture. There is also a curse that eating rice cakes roasted over a bonfire of the koshogatsu will keep you healthy for a year.

In addition, the Japanese koshogatsu is often combined with a Shinto ritual called “tori-oi” to drive away vermin that destroy farmland, and the Torigoya (rooster hut) is considered to be a type of such tori-oi. There is a custom in many parts of Japan to build huts for children to gather in this day.  These huts are called “saitogoya(border tutelary’s hut)” or “torigoya(rooster’s hut)”. Children gather in these huts to bake and eat rice cakes and sing a song to drive away birds that are after the crops. Since the people considered the children at this ritual to be messengers of the gods, the children were allowed to behave freely only for the few days during koshogatsu.

In some areas, young men take on the appearance of demons and go from house to house to perform the ritual. Those demons are called Namahage or Amamehagi.

There are various descriptions of koshogatsu, torigoya, bird-driving, and blocking gods in Folklorist Kunio Yanagida’s “Kodomo fudoki” (Children’s ethnography), so reading the following link will expand your imagination.

In the ‘TORIGOYA Project,’ you are encouraged to conduct comprehensive academic research on ‘torigoya’ or to explore creative connections with entirely different subjects. This could involve linking it to unrelated topics like festivals or traditional cultures from different regions, or even integrating it into fictional works such as Star Wars, Gundam, or any other beloved title of your choice.

Torigoya in Hirono

Hirono’s TORIGOYA events once ceased to exist in the 1960s and 1970s. People moved to large cities in search of work, and there were no longer people to carry out the events. Later, when the Hirono Thermal Power Plant was built in 1980, which created many jobs in Hirono, the people of Hirono began to stay and raise their children locally. This created momentum to once again hold the TORIGOYA events in Hirono. Some townspeople wanted to burn the New Year’s decorations in Dondoyaki, rather than dispose of them as burnable garbage.

At that time, it was the kodomokai (a club for local children and their parents) that played a central role in the revival of the torigoya. However, no one could be found who knew how to make a torigoya in the Hirono style, so it was a reproduction based on memory and imitation (in fact, it is not unusual to find people in their 50s who have never seen a rooster house before).

Torigoya became an established event of the kodomokai, but after a while it became difficult to procure materials. In the past, every family had a satoyama (commons), but recently such a system is disappearing, and it has become difficult to cut just the right branches in the fall and leave them to dry.

In recent years, however, Torigoya have been devised with a skeleton made of bamboo. The roof used to be made of fir tree branches, but recently fir tree branches have become hard to find, so cypress branches are also being used.

Also, the Great East Japan Earthquake interrupted rooster hut building in Hirono Town for seven years.

Because of this background, we cannot show “this is the real Torigoya of Hirono,” but there is no problem if you can freely create it as a contemporary artwork based on the underlying concept. The underlying concept of Hirono’s torigoya is a festival to return the god of rice fields to the hills. The god of rice fields comes down from the hills in the spring, brings abundant harvests in the rice fields in the fall, and returns to the hills at the torigoya event in the small new year (you do not necessarily need to follow this concept, but at least understand it).


Other Torigoyas in neighbouring areas

There are also torigoya events in neighboring areas, which can also be used as references.

Naraha Town (North of Hirono)
Iwaki City (South of Hirono)
Nihonmatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture
Torigoyas in Tochigi Prefecture
Komae City, Tokyo

How to write my proposal?

As a general, the format is flexible. The following structure is an example.
Keep in mind that the residents of Hirono Town, including children, will read the project proposal, so it’s best to write it as clearly as possible.

Project Title: Indicates the title of your research project.

Abstract: Summarizes the overview of the project. It broadly outlines what you are thinking about.

Concept: Describes the approach you are taking towards the theme of “Torigoya” why you came up with that approach, how you plan to conduct research, and what kind of results can be expected.

Schedule: Show a rough schedule.

References: If your proposal is based on specific source, include bibliographic information at the end.

Templates of CV and Portfolio

What kind of research methods are expected in TORIGOYA Project?

All methodologies are welcome, including cultural anthropology, sociology, folklore, and history, as well as architecture, biology, botany, geology, and meteorology.

We have a team member with an M.Eng in Urban Design and another team member with a Ph.D. in Sociology working in our secretariat, enabling us to provide expert guidance across multiple domains. Please feel free to contact us even before applying.

Is it a disadvantage if I don’t have a degree?

We place more importance on your history as an artist than on your degree.

Applying as Duo

After discussion by the committee, it has been decided that duos may apply under the following conditions

1) The maximum round-trip transportation fee of 100,000 yen must be shared between the two of you.

2) Production and other expenses will also be capped at 100,000 yen, the same as for a single applicant.

3) Only one person’s lodging will be covered by the committee.

Musicians are very welcome!

Composers, instrument players, singers, DJs, etc. are welcome!

We would be happy if you could create your own music to accompany Hirono’s lantern festival “TORIGOYA” and perform it at the field fire on January 8.

Or, of course, you may create site-specific installation in Hirono.

Do anything you want to.

We look forward to see the application documents from you.

Is Hirono Safe?

Perhaps you’re worried about radiation?

The air dose rate at Hirono station is about the same as Berlin and a bit lower than Singapore or London.

But beware of bears and boars when entering the forests. Also, there are no lifeguards at the surf spots, so don’t take it easy.

How do we get the people of Hirono involved?

Please read those posts. We will answer this kind of question no more.

Other Questions and Our Answers




























  1. プロジェクトタイトル:あなたのリサーチ&制作プロジェクトのタイトルを示します
  2. アブストラクト:プロジェクトの概要です。大まかに言うとこういうことを考えていますということをまとめます
  3. コンセプト:酉小屋というテーマに対して、どんな切り口を設定するのか、何故その切り口を思いついたのか、どうやってリサーチをすすめるのか、どのような成果が期待できるかなどをまとめます
  4. スケジュール:大まかなスケジュールを示します
  5. 参考文献:もしも特定の文献をもとにした企画なのであれば、末尾に書誌情報を入れておきましょう


















1) 往復交通費は上限10万円を二人でシェアすること。

2) 制作費、諸経費も一人での応募と同じく上限は10万円となります。

3) 宿泊は一人分だけ委員会で負担します。