Japan's Sanriku Coast, which was hard-hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake, is a treasure-trove of folk performing arts.
There is no place quite like the Sanriku Area.
In Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures alone, there are more than 2,000 performing groups.
The Sanriku International Arts Festival has been held every year since 2014.
Through this festival, we introduce audiences to the charms of Folk Performing Arts -- Geinoh -- which have been passed down for generations.
Audience members from Japan and around the world have the opportunity to participate in cultural exchange activities at the festival, forging creative connections across the globe.
1. From Life to Art
Since ancient times, people have lived on foods grown in a rich, but harsh natural environment.
They have had to face natural disasters beyond their control.
The prayers they offer in their daily lives have given birth to their unique creative expression, which carries a sense of both gratitude and awe toward nature. Festivals and Geinoh are a regular part of their lives and are rooted in ancient practices.
Sometimes beautiful, sometimes fierce, sometimes humorous, these foundations are still evident today.
2. YADORU (To inhabit)
The practice of Geinoh is inhabited by divine spirits. People take on the form of beasts never before seen in the real world and pay visits to local homes, spreading good fortune and offering comfort to the spirits of those who have passed away.
It is the first time that the festival will be held in winter.
Winters are long in Tohoku. We will gather to inhabit indoor spaces and let Geinoh take care of the prayers for the coming springtime.
3. To the Future, To the World
Many Geinoh organizations had to deal with serious consequences from the tsunami. Some lost members to the disaster. Equipment and costumes were washed away.
But Geinoh is still alive and is looking toward the future. Even with the memory of the disaster in our minds, Geinoh lives on within us and within our communities, and we look forward to sharing it with the world.
11 Mar.[Great East Japan Earthquake]
Great East Japan Earthquake occured causing huge damage to the Sanriku Coast.
- [Meeting in Tohoku]
Went to Tohoku with people involved in theater or non-profit organizations by car. Held discussions in Sendai, Morioka and Hachinohe with people involved in culture about what we could do through culture and art.
Apr[Traveled to the Disaster Areas]
Went to Noda Villege with dancers joining a group of university staff in Kansai. Offered foot baths and exercise classes to the survivors.
Continued to visit Noda Village regularly.
May[Began Support Activities]
Launched website for "Restoration Assistance Project by Dance Artists -- Loosen up your bodies, Loosen up your hearts," with support from Bloomberg.
Recruited artists to go to the disaster area. Subsidized their transportation and accomodation fees.
Jul[Support Activities: Next Steps]
The idea of having a group of people providing support to a group of people "in need" was problematic. Wanted to create a mutually beneficial relationship, not a "victim-helper" relationship. Worried it might not be possible for artists to learn folk arts in disaster areas. Met Mr. Shutaro Koiwa, Japan Folk Performing Arts Association through a friend. Asked him to introduce us to folk arts groups in disaster areas.
Apr[Idea of Sanriku International Arts Festival]
Met Mr. Chikara Furumizu, the head of Kanatsu-ryu Urahama Shishiodori and Urahama Nembutsu Kembai through Mr. Koiwa. Started "Let's Go Learn in Tohoku" and "Sanriku International Arts Festival" through this meeting.
Aug["Let's Go Learn in Tohoku!!" Vol. 01]
Joined the support activity "Let's Join Bon Odori!" by Miyagi Nippo with contemporary dance artists.
Felt that just dancing together was enough.
Location: Matsushima, Natori, Minami-Sanriku, Watari, Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture.
Oct["Let's Go Learn in Tohoku!!" Vol. 02]
Stayed in Ofunato for one month. While learning various Geinoh/folk performing arts, we finally began to feel that we were establishing mutually beneficial relationships between visiting artists and local Geinoh communities. There was a sense of equality, not a victim-helper relationship, Artists: Cecilia Macfarlane (Performer/England), Manizia (Choreographer/Fukuoka)
Geinoh: Kanatsu-ryu Urahama Shishiodori, Massaki Shichifukujin (Ofunato), Kanezawa Kagura (Otsuchi), Kofugane Kagura (Sumita), Kosaba Kadomari Shichifukujin, Hama Jinku (Kesennuma)
Aug[Sanriku International Arts Festival 2014]
Held in Ofunato, Rikuzentakata, Sumita and Kesennuma
Nov["Let's Go Learn in Tohoku!!" Vol. 03]
Artist: Martinus Miroto(Dancer/Indonesia)
Geinoh: Urahama Nembutsu Kembai(Ofunato), Usuzawa Shishiodori, Shiroyama Toramai(Otsuchi), Oishi Toramai(Kamaishi)
Aug["Let's Go Learn in Tohoku!!" Vol. 04]
Artist: Kazunari Abe(Japanese Flutist/Takamatsu), Miki Isojima(Dancer/Sendai), Masaharu Imazu(Dancer/Tokyo), Motoko Sakurada(Gamelan Player/Yokohama), Nozomi Tanaka(Artist/Yamagata)
Geinoh: Usuzawa Shishiodori(Otsuchi)
Aug - Oct[Sanriku International Arts Festival 2015]
Held in Ofunato, Rikuzentakata, Sumita and Kesennuma.
Jan[Sending Sanriku Geinoh to Asia]
Usuzawa Shishiodori visited Indonesia and participated in a cultural exchange.
Aug - Oct[Sanriku International Arts Festival 2016]
Held in Ofunato, Hachinohe, Kesennuma and Tokyo.
Looking to the future for Sanriku and Asia: Beyond 2020.
Discussed Geinoh, recovery efforts and community building.
Sep["Let's Go Learn in Tohoku!!" Vol. 05]
Artist: Martinus Miroto(Dancer/Indonesia), Shigemi Kitamura(Dancer/Shiga), Lemon Nakanishi(Performer/Tokyo)
Geinoh: Nagahama Shishiodori(Ofunato)
Oct[Sanriku International Arts Festival at Roppongi Art Night]
- [International Cultural Meeting]
Regions x Geinoh x Innovation
Feb["Let's Go Learn in Tohoku!!" Vol.06]
Participants: artists, actors, musicians and reseacher from all over Japan
Geinoh: Maeta Shishiodori, Kadonaka-gumi Toramai, Akasawa Yoroi Kembai, Nagahama Shishiodori(Ofunato)
Mar[Sending Sanriku Geinoh to Asia]
Aug[Sanriku International Arts Festival 2017]
Held in Ofunato and Hachinohe.
Jul[First Steps to Expand the Project to the Entire Sanriku Coast]
Held a preliminary committee meeting about Sanriku International Arts Promotion Committee in Morioka.
Aug[Sanriku International Arts Festival 2018]
Held in Ofunato.
Sep[New Office in Ofunato]
Opened the Sanriku International Arts Promotion Committee and Sanriku International Arts Festival office in Ofunato.
It's just a regular day, nothing special.
Two elders fix instruments and sew costumes in the community hall. They apply camellia oil to masks.
"I didn't imagine that I'd still be sewing in my old age. It's really hard to thread a needle."
These kinds of everyday repairs are done quietly, just a regular part of everyday life.
Maeta Shishiodori has been handed down for more than 350 years.
Throughout its long history, Geinoh has been handed down in community
as part of regular daily life like this.
"Yadoru –Inhabit/Dwell in/Live in- is not a phenomenon that happens in an instant.
Nor is it supernatural.
Rather, it is something that takes shape over a long period of time, as tradition is handed down from generation to generation.
In Sanriku, there are as many histories and cultures as there are villages.
Asian Geinoh: Krincing Manis, New Zuguz Gedroex (Indonesia)
Hachinohe｜Fri, February 22 - Sun, February 24
Ofunato｜Fri, March 1 - Sun, March 3, 10
Indonesian Groups' Journal through Sanriku Coast｜Mon, February 11 - Thu, February 28
Sanriku x Asia｜Sat, March 2 - Sun, March 24
- Sanriku International Arts Promotion Committee, The Japan Foundation Asia Center, Japan Contemporary Dance Network
- Hachinohe, Miyako, Ofunato, Kuji, Hashikami, Iwaizumi, Otsuchi, Sumita, Tanohata, Japan Folk Performing Arts Association, Sanriku Railway, Iwate Arts Support Center, Arts Ground Tohoku, Minna no Shirushi
- Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc「SOMPO ART FUND」(Association for Corporate
Support of the Arts, Japan:2021 Fund for Creation of Society by the Arts and Culture)
- Toyota Motor Corporation, Shinsai Regain, Tohoku Bunkazai Eizo Kenkyujo, The Laboratory for Global Dialogue, TSUMUGIYA, Natsukashii Mirai Sozo Co.,Ltd,Miyako International Association, NPO Plus Arts, Cinema de Aeru Project
- Producer｜Norikazu Sato
- Program Directors
- [Miyako] Yuhei Sakata
- [Hachinohe] Wakako Imagawa
- [Ofunato] Norikazu Sato + Direction Team
- Asian Geinoh Directors｜Jujiro Maegawa, Daisuke Muto
- Japanese Geinoh Director｜Shutaro Koiwa
- Japanese Geinoh Advisor｜Takeshi Abe
- Festival Managers｜Yuta Chida, Saori Kousaki
- Public Relations/Translator｜Nahomi Tsuboi
- PR Advisor｜Kumi Aizawa
- Festival Advisors｜Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto, Naomi Inata
- Photo｜Masaru Tatsuki