Tokyobling's Blog

Kurayami Festival – Tadenomikai Dance

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on November 6, 2013

At the Kurayami Festival in Tokyo’s western Fuchu City earlier this year I saw this performance by the Satiama based Tadenomikai (蓼の実会), a famous local group of hayashi dancers and musicians. They performed their solemn dance which I wish I knew more about and one exceedingly cute little boy in the audience did his best to keep up with their movements, but only as long as they didn’t see him. I couldn’t tell if the crowd cheered more for the little boy than they did for the performers, but everyone seemed thrilled.

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Young Men – Kurayami Festival Seinensodai

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on October 7, 2013

Japanese take pride in doing things as a group. From an early age children are taught to work together and to value belonging to a group and to society. To westerners who are raised to be more individualistic this way of working together often looks strange. Even sports practice emphasize team action where westerners usually wouldn’t consider teams, even tennis is a group activity in Japanese schools! One place even the casual tourist can see this way of group work in action is during the festivals where neighborhood associations of school kids (少年) and even youth (青年) take part in formal and informal groups. Most activities involve shouting! I took these photos of the seinensodai (青年総代), a youth organization helping out at the Kurayami Matsuri in Tokyo’s Fuchu City. Groups of them would gather around town and move together towards the main shrine of the festival while encouraging themselves, each other and other people attending the festival to put more energy into it with shouts and jumping. And, I suspect part of is to warm up for the heavy work of carrying the shrines around town!

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