Obonai-bushi, is a traditional folksong from Obonai area in Tazawako. Compare to donpan-bushi or akita-obako, Obonai-bushi might be lesser-known; however, many locals and practitioners are familiar with its song and dance.
Obonai Bushi Bon-Odori Festival was held on August 20th at the plaza in front of JR Tazawako Station.
A bon-odori festival in the JR Tazawako Station Plaza
At 7 p.m-- the locals showed up in various costumes.
Before the dance had begun, a local teachers group had a premier performance of the new version of Obonai-Bushi — Obonai-Bushi Samba!
Finally, the main event has begun.
Intermissions were inserted in between the dances, with performances by Ishigami’s children group.
When Ishigami Traditional Arts Preservation Group had a performance trip to Taiwan, they were befriended with another traditional dance group from Ugo Town in south Akita. They are dancers of Nishimonai Bon-Odori -- one of the three major bon-odoris of Japan.
Nishimonai’s performing group guested at our Obonai Bon-Odori Festival this year, bringing a glimpse of the famed dance to the audience in Tazawako.
Nishimonai Bon-Odori is said to originate in the 13th century. It is known for the ghost-like but elegant flow in movement accompanying the high-pitch flute and low beats of drum. The tradition had been once interrupted and banned during the 1920s because the local police considered it to be too “disturbing and mind-stirring.”