Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Imbara Obon Matsuri

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For Obon we went upriver a little ways to Imbara, part of Kawamoto Town, to check out their matsuri. There was kagura performed by the local kagura group who play in Hiroshima style. First dance was Jimmu, a 4 person dance depicting the final subjugation of the Yamato area by Jimmus invading force.

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Next up was a performance of Zeni Daiko, a "dance" using 2 tubes decorated with tassles. Traditionally the tubes are bamboo and strung inside them are old coins, but nowadays plastic is not unusual. The tubes are waved, shaken, tapped on the floor, spun, and flipped from hand to hand in time to the music and provide a percussive accompaniment. The dance seems to be very popular in local villages.

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Then some traditional dancing.....

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The second kagura dance was one I had not seen before. Yamanba, based on a Noh story is popular with Hiroshima style groups, and I was pleased to see a mask that was new to me.

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The "mountain hag" of the story transforms into her evil form...

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... and a final battle puts paid to her and her accomplice....

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Then there was the Bon Odori itself, and unusually it only lasted about 40 minutes..... other Bon Odoris Ive been to have gone on for hours. Also unusually a few of the villagers wore costumes for the dance....

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The finale was a firework display..... not big by city standards, but nice that there were no barriers and huge crowds....

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