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Niijima-mura , Tokyo Related category:
Niijima-mura Wakago no O-odori (The big dances of Wakago)    



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Entire story: 31 minutes
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The district of Wakago is located in the northwest of Niijima, an island floating in the midst of the Pacific Ocean. The district consists of 138 households and 340 persons as of 2008. The district has inherited "O-odori (the big dances)" from ancient times and these are performed on August 14 during the bon period every year. The "O-odori" consist of the Tera (temple) dance and the Yakusho dance with a total of nine songs; and among these nine songs, those currently being performed in public are three items of "Aoga-maru," "Bizen odori (Bizen dance)," and "Ise odori (Ise dance)." Their lyrics are characteristic and are said to have been taken from the "Furyu odori (Furyu dance)" dating back to the Muromachi era. No instrumental music accompanies these dances; rather performances are held together with live singing only. It is said that the O-odori have been inherited in Niijima only since they had been danced in memorial of ancestors from around 1800. It is also said that the dances nurture the spirit of mutual cooperation called "moyai" and that it is fun to sing and dance the repertoires learnt and memorized personally.

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