In 29,30th Augut 2015,I took part in Koenji Awaodori 2015 as a photographer.
So I introduce Koenji Awaodori.
Awaodori is a kind of Japanese traditional dance.
Its origin is Tokushima prefecture,Shikoku region.
Former name of Tokushima Prefecture was Awa(阿波).
So Awaodori means Awa dance.
Beginning of Awaodori is not clearly specified.
One theory says it was dance for ancestors’s consolation,and began at Edo period.
Now it is one of large summer event, and spread many places in Japan.
This year,Koenji Awaodori is 59th.
It has long history.And many visitors come to watch Awaodori.
Dance is performed by 連(ren). Ren is a team.There are many Ren in Japan.
People play their own role in Ren. So Awaodori is not individual dance performance.
It is basically team performance.(Sometimes show individual performance.)
Team formation is a little different every Ren.
But there are women dancers group,men dancers group, and music players group at Ren.
Women are graceful. Men are powerful.
Let’s see photos.
Women group.Traditional costume.
This is a music players group. Bell drum(center), Large and small drums, Japanese flute.
Shamisen(traditional Japanese guitar ) players.
After marching, Ren stops and play loudly! Exciting scene!!
Dancers move fast and change their formation quickly. It’s amazing!!
This woman was so elegant. She was like a ballerina.
This costume is basically for men. But many women performer wear this costume.
Beautiful formation!! Moving and stopping. Audience have to keep on watching!
Every Ren has their own name.They come into stage with their name lantern.
The same timing. Beautiful movement. And they put on Geta(下駄 ).It is not flat sole. But they move quickly.
Second day,I went shopping street area.
Because it was rainy.There is arcade.
Koenji is famous for shopping street.
Here was narrow.But it made me to take perspective photos and low angle photos.
I think these are characteristic for Koenji Awaodori.
This time,I tried movie. It’s poor quality,but you can hear music. And you’ll be able to feel atmosphere! Performers are Komyo-ren.
It was beautiful impressive performance.
I was grateful that I could take photos here as a photographer.
Why Japanese people loves Awaodori??
I feel mentality “not for individual, for team” from Awaodori.
Performers try to express team beauty.
I think that mentality is beautiful itself.
And it suits for Japanese people’s mentality.
I think it’s a kind of “和(WA)” mentality.
After festival I read an article. It was about manner of visitors.
Visitors left a lot of trash on the road, and drunken people made troubles.
So inhabitant in Koenji faced difficulty.
It’s not WA mentality. Everyone takes part in festival has to enjoy with manner from beginning to end.
If you attend festival,please keep manners.
Finally I would like to sincerely thank all of performers and staffs.
I could not take all the member’s photo,but everyone was cool and beautiful.
I’ll try next year too!
I felt difficulty about shooting after sunset.
Lighting made various colors. So I have to adjust white balance during post procession.
And my lens is dark(f4). So there ware heavy noise on many of dark photos.
Noise reduction brakes sharp atmosphere and makes dirtiness.
So I had to delete many photos.
I recommend to use bright lens. For example single focus lens.
But performers move broad area.To trace performers, various angles are needed.
Other photographers had 2 or 3 cameras. It will be right answer.
This festival is so crowded. If you want to watch performance well,you have to go Koenji before one hour earlier from beginning.
Koenji Station / JR Chuo Sobu Line