Last weekend I went to the Nishi-Kasai district of Tokyo, in Edogawa ward in the far east end of the city. Nishi-Kasai has the largest Indian community in Tokyo - and probably Japan - and the occasion on Saturday was the 10th celebration of the Hindu Diwali festival.
In spite of it being an Indian event, it was aimed at much at the local Japanese population as it was the Indian. The majority of the crowd was Japanese, and even the performances were largely Japanese-style and by Japanese people.
However, the Indian element was predominant in the stalls that lined the venue selling mainly Indian food, as well as clothing, incense, and jewelry. Several religious groups were proselytizing there, too, like Hare Krishnas, Sai Baba-ites, and even the Japanese, and decidedly oddball, "Happy Science" group.
But the festival was focused on performances: singing, dancing, and drama - the drama even including some manga-style futuristic gundam fighting.
Perhaps the most memorable performance was Beyonce-style stage dancing by half a dozen girls on stage, with the space below and along the stage lined with shirtless, body-painted boys drumming in vigorous unison while the girls worked their moves. Check out the YouTube video above of shirtless boys drumming and girls shaking it.
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Japan Tokyo Nishi Kasai Diwali festival
Tuesday, November 03, 2009