Hiroshima – The Flower Festival

Hiroshima – The Flower Festival

Hiroshima – The Flower Festival

May 5, 2010

This past week in Japan has been Golden Week. Many government offices and businesses close down, Japanese travel within the country and everything becomes more crowded than usual. This didn’t affect us much early in the week because we were traveling on our boats, but on May 5 we went to the Peace Park in Hiroshima and found ourselves in the middle of one of Hiroshima’s biggest festivals, the Flower Festival.

Golden Week (Japan)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Golden Week – Goruden Wiku, also known as Ogata
  • renkyu or Ogon shukan, is a Japanese term applied to the period containing the following public holidays:

    • April 29
      • Emperor’s Birthday (Tenno tanjobi), until 1988
    • May 4
      • Holiday (Kokumin no kyujitsu), from 1985 until 2006
    • May 5
      • Children’s Day (Kodomo no hi), also customarily known as Boys’ Day (, Tango no sekku).
    The streets were jammed with people, and lined with food stalls.
    In sharp contrast to the frenetic energy of the crowd, it was clear that many people were also honoring the memory of the horror and loss that took place with the bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.
    A Prayer for Peace

    Peace Cranes

    The children’s peace sculpture

    The A-bomb dome-the only building left standing after the bomb

    The Japanese love Hawaii and are great fans of the Hula and Hawaiian music. Part of the reason we came to the Peace Park on May 5 was to hear Steven Argosy’s brother-in-law and nephews from Honolulu perform at the festival. Manoa DNA (Dad, Nick and Alex) are regulars at Lulu’s and various other locations in Waikiki and were scheduled to perform at 1:53 in Phoenix Hall. It was clear that the crowd was familiar with their music. Manoa DNA was very good at bringing the audience into the performance; the Japanese were tapping their feet, clapping along and joining in in the singing when prompted. And their music was GREAT!!
    Manoa DNA photo

    The best part of the festival for Don and I was the Yosakoi Dance competition. We didn’t really know what we were watching, but we could figure out that it involved teams made up of people of all ages, amazing choreography, costumes and dancers in great physical condition. We didn’t know what it was, but we loved it. Today I looked at the website for the Flower Festival and looked at the link for Yosakoi.


    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Yosakoi is a unique style of dance that originated in Japan. Yosakoi started in the city of Kochi in 1954, as a modern rendition of Awa Odori, a traditional summer dance. Yosakoi-style dancing has spread throughout much of Japan. The style of dance is highly energetic, combining traditional Japanese dance movements with modern music. The choreographed dances are often performed by large teams. Along with a number of professional yosakoi schools and town dance teams, yosakoi is also a popular event during the sports festivals held by Japanese elementary, junior, and senior high schools. Yosakoi participants include men and women of almost all ages – sometimes within a single team. In the dialect of Tosa province (modern-day Kochi Prefecture), “yosakoi” means “Come at night.” Costumes and naruko

    The costumes used by yosakoi teams vary widely. Happi coats and yukata are the most predominant costumes and can be seen in a wide variety of colors. However, some groups choose costumes that are based on historical attire, popular fashions, or ethnic fashions. Typically, all members of a team wear similar costumes. One of the defining aspects of yosakoi dance is the use of naruko: small wooden clappers that are held in the hands of each dancer. Naruko were originally used in Kochi Prefecture to scare birds away from rice fields. The traditional naruko has black and yellow beaters on a wooden body, but most modern yosakoi groups create their own naruko, choosing colors and materials that match their costumes. The use of naruko is required in yosakoi dance, but many groups also use other hand-held instruments or props, such as drums, other percussion instruments, flags, batons, and float Yosakoi Naruko Dancing

    The official yosakoi dance is based on a song called “Yosakoi Naruko Dancing”, written by Takemasa Eisaku. This song was created by combining elements of three songs: “Yosakoi-bushi” (“yosakoi melody”), “Yocchore” (a children’s song), and “Jinma-mo” (a folk song of Kochi Prefecture). The original competition in Kochi requires that each team’s music include some part of this original music. Competitions and festivals in other areas may not have this requirement (thus allowing teams to compose their own music), or may require that elements of different local folk songs are worked into the dance routines. Takemasa has given the copyright on “Yosakoi Naruko Dancing” to the public.



    May 5 is Children’s Day; throughout Japan Giant Carp fly for several weeks before this important day. Children’s Day previously was called Boy’s Day (Japan has come a long way). On May 5, many little girls participated in the Flower Festival. We especially enjoyed the mini cheerleaders in training. (If they start their training this young I’ll bet Japan wins international competitions.)
    Little Girl watching the Yosakoi dancing

    Almost as much fun as watching theYosakoi Dancing was watching the young Japanese fashionistas in the crowd.


  • Doug & Marlene Easton
    Posted at 02:41h, 17 May Reply

    Hi Don & Sharry
    It’s great reading your emails.
    We are full of admiration for your adventuring spirit and the joy you two have in life.
    We are looking forward to meeting you again in the not to distant future when we finally extract ourselves from NZ and head out on to the blue ocean again on the good ship Evolution.

    Have fun and keep in touch
    Marlene & Doug

  • Peter Anderson
    Posted at 19:50h, 21 May Reply

    Good On Ya Mates: As always I am envious of your adventures. I have been following your blog and it is really fantastic. I am anxious to discuss your route as it is one with some modification would like to undertake myself. I am busy finishing up with the teaching of Oceanography and Geology classes at Pasadena City and Glendale City colleges. Eileen and I will head for Wash. State in late June to be at my mother’s 90th B-Day on July 4th in Sequim. Is your plan to head back across this summer? If not when?? Cheers, Peter

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