The Sabres Dancer!
I finally went to watch the Shimada Obi Festival today where I took literally hundred of pictures and have to divide this report on of the strangest/unusual festivals in Japan into many parts!
This report is about the last section of the festival and features the nationally famous Sabre Dancers!!
the Daimyou Gyouretsu/大名行列 is the sole responsibility of the Dai Nana Kai/第七街/Seventh District and come last after all the chariots, stage dancers and parades have come through since 8:30 a.m. They usually start between 13:00 and 14:30 depending on the day.
Onlookers were sitting on the kerb a good hour before the scheduled Parade!
They are very strict about the organisation and young members ensure that there isn’t the slightest impediment.
I was told in no uncertain term by a metal cane wielding young man to move to the sides well before the parad actually reached my spot!
The “leaders” are extremely proud of their prerogatives, even by Japanese standards.
This is after all the aristocratic part of the festival and in Edo times they were far more obvious about their power and authority as the local Lord and his retainers paraded for real!
The first herald!
The Lord’s mark of authority carried inside portable boxes!
Heavy stuff actually!
Those two kids are supposed to represent the two most powerful retainers!
Kids have also taken the place of the Lord and his sons on horses!
And horse handlers are now ladies!
The Lord parading past a cake shop!
Most of the lower ranked retainers parade is enacted by children!
Those dancers are a modern addition!
The hairstyles were vastly different, then! LOL
At least these kids are not taking it all too seriously!
The Overlord was pulled along atop a small float.
Bow to the Lord!
Taking a rest and being re-groomed!
No parade would come along without its music band!
A rare smile from the handlers who seemed to enjoy themselves more than some uppity “retainers”!
Even the lord seemed more amenable to his subjects!
Another Lord with lady handlers!
At last the ones all had been waiting!
The Sabre dancers!
This was makes the unique name and fame of this festival in the whole of Japan!
Enormous obi/sashes are wrapped around giant swords secured by sashes around the dancers’ waists.
All the dancers carry different obi/sashes wrapped around their swords.
The “apron” is also unique.
All are made of expensive silk. They carry a real fortune along which is is displayed only for three days every three years!
The Parade is a very expensive a affair to take charge of. Therefore it has been held every 3 years ony for 107 times!
The dancing is also a tough challenge along the 1.7 km ( 1 mile) main road which takes more than two hours.
To think they go through that three days in a row!
The Dancers have to hold an umbrella (they certainly need it in the heat!) with one hand, make big waves with the other hand and raised the knees high with every step!
Tough for photographers who are not allowed to stand or walk in front or across the Parade!
Not so many onlookers on the sunny side of the road which could burn your skins in a jiffy, but one couldn’t walk on the shady side between the Parade and the houses along the street!
Some of them were obviously tired!
Tough work to raise your knees under that heavy apron!
Tough work too to raise your arm above the shoulder and make a circling wave back and forward!
Helpers were carrying low stools on which they could rest every time the parade had to stop!
A well-earned rest!
Mind you, even in such a sitting position it must be tough to carry all that finery along!
Fortunately an army of handlers were here to give plenty of support, water and encouragements!
One thing was sure, all had strong legs!
The dancers are basically different every three years as it is a very sought after honor!
This particular dancer was very popular with the crowd as he took often the time to look and wink at them. Note the whiskers!
There was plenty more to follow including the brandishing and throwing of decorated poles but I was running out of batteries!
A common feature to top-class Japanese Festivals!
I hope that in three years’ time technology will have evolved enough to make it a film of it all without fear of running out of batteries!
RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES
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Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,
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ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
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