Awa Odori festival kicks off in Tokushima

TOKUSHIMA, Japan (The Japan News/ANN) - Awa Odori, the four-day dance festival began in Tokushima with its climax, the so-odori grand procession, revived after being dropped from last year’s event.

The four-day Awa Odori dance festival began in Tokushima on Monday, with its climax, the so-odori grand procession, revived after being dropped from last year’s event.

 At around 6 p.m. on Monday, dance groups, called ren, appeared on several stages throughout the city. They performed masculine male and elegant female dances along with the traditional rhythm, played with gongs, drums and shamisen.

 In the so-odori to close out the evening, about 1,500 dancers from 14 famous ren took part. All the dancers lined up at the scene, drawing cheers from the audience.

 “It’s not Awa Odori if it has no so-odori,” said Yuhei Hosokawa, 40, a dancer from one of the participating ren. “We showed the audience our heartfelt performances with a feeling of unity.”

 Last year, the Tokushima city government took the initiative to organize the festival after it was found that the previous organizers had accumulated a deficit of more than ¥400 million, and announced it would cancel the so-odori in that festival. This year’s event was organized by a private consortium.

  Attracting visitors from both inside and outside Tokushima Prefecture, the festival runs through Thursday.

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