Thursday, July 30, 2009

Yama Agesai, Nasu Karasuyama

Did you remember that it takes place every year, during the last weekend in July?

Though photos hardly do the three day, 18-performance festival justice, here are a few images from last weekend's Yama Agesai in Karasuyama, possibly this blessed land's least recognized Important Intangible Cultural Asset.

The 8 pm Motodamachi performance of Yoshinoyama kitsune Tadanobu
Saturday, July 25, 2009

The 12:45 pm Yama Agesai Kaikan Mae performance of Hebihime
Saturday, July 25, 2009

The 2 pm Yama Agesai Kaikan Mae performance of Masakado
Saturday, July 25, 2009


The 2 pm Yama Agesai Kaikan Mae performance of Masakado
Saturday, July 25, 2009

The 8 pm Motodamachi performance of Yoshinoyama kitsune Tadanobu
Saturday, July 25, 2009

The 2 pm Yama Agesai Kaikan Mae performance of Masakado
Saturday, July 25, 2009



Yes, it is all performed by children. Yes, the children tend to come from only a small number of lineages living in each of the city's six traditional chō.

There's a thesis in Nasu Karasuyama for a smart grad student in social history, urban planning or cultural anthropology -- perhaps many theses. On the face of it, this city literally at the end of the line has found a way to ease into senescence rather than plummet into it, by giving its young people a reason to stick around.

All photos: MTC

2 comments:

RMilner said...

It looks fantastic.

Doesn't the city need to provide young people money, not just a reason, to stick around?

Here in the UK we have similar problems of depopulation of remote areas like the Scottish Highlands. They are due to lack of proper life opportunities for the new generation.

Janne Morén said...

RMilner, you're quite right. But reason to stay - motivation to not leave - is perhaps even more important. It is, if you will, easier to help people that stick around find something to do, than it is to entice people that have left to return.

We have the same problem in Sweden. There's a big difference between towns with a sizeable, if unemployed, young population and towns where only the old folks are still around. Those places that have seen a turnaround have all been of the first variety, where a company or local entrepreneur decides to tap into the underused labour market.