Traditional open-air kabuki festival starts
NHK -- Jul 27
A centuries-old outdoor kabuki festival performed by local residents on a movable stage has opened in the city of Nasukarasuyama, north of Tokyo.

The Yamaage Matsuri festival is said to have been started by a feudal lord about 450 years ago as part of a ritual to pray for a good harvest.

On Friday, locals erected stage sets about 10 meters high.

The opening program, Modoribashi, featured a demon disguised as a woman who tries to take a warlord away.

But the demon's cover is blown, and the warlord drives it away with his sword.

During the scene in which the demon's true identity was revealed, the set changed from an idyllic one to one depicting thunder.

The audience applauded the powerful fighting scene.

A local resident says it's hard to find performers because the city's population is declining, but he hopes that the tradition will be passed on to future generations.

The festival was listed as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage in 2016 along with 32 other traditional heritages across Japan.

The Yamaage Matsuri will continue until Sunday, with 16 programs to be performed across the city.

News source: NHK
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