Traditional Festivals in Aomori : Emburi - 3
(Hachinohe, Aomori, Japan)

At 10:40 in the morning, the Issei-Zuri (Simultaneous performance of all groups in the main street) has started at a signal gun.

30 groups are lined up in the main street in the downtown, and they show dancing all at once. Anyway, there are a lot of audience, and since all the groups are performing at the same time, I can nor appreciate the differences and superiority or inferiority of each group neither afford to enjoy each group at leisure from the beginning to the end. I am just overwhelmed by dancing and music which fill the main street surrounded with building and only leave my body to the flow.

It was 1881 when the Issei-Zuri began. Originally, it had been individually performed in each farm village around Hachinohe in the Kosyougatsu (the Small New Year in mid-January according to the lunar calendar). Tamon Osawa, who had handled an entertainment business in Hacinohe, reformed it into the form that all groups showed off in the downtown as a commercial promotion event. The reason why the February 17 is decided on the first day of the Emburi is because this date was the Kosyougatsu of 1881 which was the time of switching from the lunar calendar to the solar calendar.

It was mistaken for a new event according to the combination of the building street and the traditional event, but this Issei-Zuri itself has already over 130 years history. Would Tamon Osawa imagine living continuously for more than a century ?

It didn't only succeeded as an event attracting people to Hachinohe. If it were shown off to local people in a small area, it would be declining and might be difficult to survive. The form that all the groups show off together in front of a lot of audience in the downtown provides a motivation to inherit it and produces a force for each other to improve themselves through friendly rivalry.

Similar events seems to have been performed in various parts of the Tohoku region (the northeastern area of Honshu island)), but now it remains grandly in a grand scale in only Hachinohe. Although its continuation to exist had been doubted for some time after the World War II, the mechanism of Tamon Osawa has also become the power to make survive the traditional culture.

At 11:20, the signal gun rings again in the sky. It is the end. Perhaps it is the time necessary to dance for each group from the beginning to the end, but it is too short and in a flash. While I am looking for my favorite group, being attracted to other groups, the Issei-Zuri always finishes.

This unconcernedness seems to be Hachinohe-like, but if the time of the Issei-Zuri extended another 40 minutes at least, the audience could round among various groups and reach at the group which they want to see.

In other viewpoint, they might address that "if you want to see more, please come back next year". Hachinohe is really good at business !

To Japanese Version

Google Maps

From Tokyo to Hachinohe
by train
: 3 hours from “Tokyo Station” to “Hachinohe Station” by Shinkansen (high speed train), one service per one hour.

From “Hachinohe Station” to “downtown Hachinohe”
20 minutes by bus from “Hahinohe Station” to “Jusan-nichi-machi”, frequent service in the daytime. The site is within downtown Hachinohe near "Jusan-nichi-machi".

Hachinohe Tourist Information Website

Aomori Sightseeng Guide

Acoommodations in Hachinohe

"青森県の歴史散歩" (青森県高等学校地方史研究会編, 山川出版社, 2007)
"図説青森県の歴史" (成田稔・長谷川成一, 河出書房新社, 1991)
"郷土資料事典 青森県" (人文社, 1998)
"季刊あおもり草子第25号" (企画集団プリズム, 1985)
"えんぶり読本" (正部家種康, 伊吉書院, 1992)
"江戸時代ひとづくり風土記2青森" (農山村漁村文化協会, 1992)
"八戸市博物館 えんぶり展" (八戸市博物館, 2012)
"八戸三社大祭の歴史"(三浦忠司, 伊吉書院, 2007)
"八戸三社大祭公式ガイドブック"(八戸観光コンベンション協会, 2011)
Emburi (Hachinohe City Office)
Hachinohe Tourist Information Website

2018.01 Photos in English version, and photos and text in Japanese version


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Dance of Emburi

Photo by Daigo Ishii