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Minami-Soma City , Fukushima
(Haramachi City)
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Soma-Nomaoi    



Digest: 3 minutes
Entire story: 13 minutes
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Soma-Nomaoi is a traditional event initiated by the Soma clan, which ruled over current Soma and Futaba areas in Fukushima Prefecture. According to the lore, Taira no Masakado, an ancestor of the Soma clan, released and chased wild horses in Koganehara, Shimousa Province for the purpose of polishing up his armyfs warrior skills, which is thought to be the origin of this festival. Currently, itfs held in 2 cities, 4 towns and 2 villages in Soma and Futaba areas, the Soma-Nakamura Shrine (in Soma City), the Soma-Ota Shrine (in Haramachi ward, Minamisoma City) and the Soma-Odaka Shrine (in Odaka ward, Minamisoma City), known as the 3 Soma Shrines, and so on. The festival lasts 3 days. On the last Saturday of July, Okuridashi (kickoff) and Yoinori (horse racing) are held. The following Sunday sees Ogyoretsu (parade), Kacchu-Keiba (horse racing by knights in armor), and Shinki-sodatsusen (cavalry battle for a divine flag). On the following Monday, Nomakake (horse capturing) is conducted in the Soma-Odaka Shrine. These events are carried out by the people dressed and equipped with costumes and tools derived from the samurai warrior period. They are important reminiscences of samurai culture. Nomagake, in which a horse is captured with youngstersf bare hands and dedicated to the shrine, retains the traditional form of nomaoi and can be regarded as the origin of ema (votive tablet). Itfs an important event in folkloristic terms. In 1978, this festival was designated as a significant intangible folk cultural asset of Japan.

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