Aug 23, 2011

Obonai-bushi Bon-odori Festival 2011

Obonai-bushi Bon-Odori was held on Saturday, August 20th at Semboku City Government Tazawako branch building.

Obonai-bushi (生保内節) is an original folk song from Obonai area of Tazawako, Semboku City, Akita Prefecture. It used to be known as “Obonai-dashi,” which sings about the seasonal wind from the Sengan Mountain Pass (仙岩峠) over Akita and Iwate border. The strong wind is believed to accelerate snow melt in spring, repel insects from the rice in summer, provide rains during the draught, helps drying the harvested rice in fall; therefore, it has been familiarized as "Takarakaze," the Wind of Treasure.

The singing has a unique style of rhythm, so that it is considered one of the most difficult songs to master. Today it has been widely known among the minyo practitioners in all over Japan, so that the national competition has been held in Tazawako every year.

The dance is very simple so that even children can dance. Many people take this opportunity to meet with old friends and family or show their unique costume ideas like kunimasu, black kokanee (an endemic species believed to extinct that was recently discovered in Lake Saiko, Yamanshi Prefecture).

The festival is joined by hundreds of local people, with some stage performances in between the dances. On the stage during the intermission, different groups come to perform in front of the crowd. This year, a few young singers sang some familiar songs.

Last year, we welcomed the famous Nishimonai Bon-Odori group. This year, we welcomed dancers from Shizukuishi High School in Iwate Prefecture.

Watch their energetic performance! They are so joyful that it cheered up the crowd.

Obonai-bushi Bon-odori Festival is held every year after o-bon week.

Come join us next year!

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