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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Bon Odori


Listen to the sound of Bon Odori

matsuri stalls at bonodori The past few days have been Obon, one of the 2 times in the Japanese year when many people leave the cities and return to their hometowns. At Obon, the dead, the ancestors, are honored. Graves are cleaned and every community holds the Obon dance known as Bon Odori.

In our village Bon Odori is accompanied by a small matsuri. There are only a handful of stalls, but they are manned by locals, so the prices are lower and quality higher than at a big town matsuri.

local kagura group Before the dance the local Kagura group performed for a couple of hours.
iwami kagura monkeys In one dance a troop of monkeys leave the stage area and terrorize the children in the audience. Older kids have fun, but I saw several very young kids burst into tears of fright.
Bonodori singers and drummer For the dance itself, the singers and drummer are atop a small tower in the centre of the grounds, and the community dances in a circle around it.

The song sounds very mournful, and I was surprised to see the singer reading the lyrics from a sheaf of papers, but apparently there are over 300 verses to the song, and they change each year.

Bon Odori dance click here for more from rural Japan

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