You can see Satoshi Kamakura often walking around the city wearing traditional ‘mononofu’ (warrior) wear. Kamakura is the descendant of a thousand-year-old family with roots to the Taira clan’s Yoshifumi, who moved and settled some 900 years ago in the area which makes up modern-day Fujisawa.
About 10 years ago, Kamakura attended a festival in Yamanashi Prefecture, where people gathered to dress in warrior costumes and reenact a famous battle. His interest in the ancient costumes and way of life brought him back to the festival for 8 consecutive years, and in 2013 Kamakura began a similar project in the Kamakura area. Choosing to focus on the daily life and customs of the mononofu rather than the battles, Kamakura leads walking tours around Kamakura where participants can dress in traditional clothes while gaining insight into how the mononofu lived in days past.
Kamakura explains that mononofu were everyday people who took up weapons when needed to defend their lands. Samurai, on the other hand, were warrior elite who were commissioned to protect the nobility.
In addition to his walking tours, Kamakura also conducts workshops where attendees can learn how to make their own ‘yoroi’ (Japanese armor). Graduates of the workshop are allowed to join a special circle which dresses in costume and promotes many Kamakura city events and charities.
When Kamakura has a bit of extra time, he moonlights as a kindergarten teacher in modern clothing. Occasionally he dons his warrior costumes for class, much to the delight of his students!
In the future, Kamakura would like to gather a crowd of over 1500 ‘warriors’, in order to earn a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Another goal is to open an indoor amusement space called Kamakura Bakufu House, where guests could immerse themselves in the Kamakura of yesteryear.
Twice a year, at the Kamando Ichiba event held in Yuigahama every spring and autumn, Kamakura sets up a booth where visitors and try on the costumes and take photographs. He also participates in a couple of plays a year, where vignettes from the history of the Kamakura Era are retold.
Kamakura’s enthusiasm and dedication to keeping the spirit of the mononofu alive, while adding color to the city makes him a popular face about town.
Official Website (in Japanese)