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Nima-kai Traditions: Matsuri

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Yamaga Lantern Dance Festival – Yamaga Toro Matsuri, 1998

Submitted by: Coleen Uchida-Tamny, Los Angeles County and Etsuko Honigsberg, Denver, CO

Photo 2 or 4: Shaved ice

Traveling to Japan to meet maternal relatives and to visit their village was a dream come true. The dream continued, watching the famous and spectacular Yamaga Lantern Dance Festival with 1000 women all dressed in matching white summer yukatas & red obi sashes dancing elegantly while wearing beautifully crafted paper illuminated lanterns on their heads.

The origins of the festival arise from an ancient story of Yamaga villagers helping the legendary Emperor Keiko (71 to 130 AD) and his followers who were lost in the middle of a fog storm by holding lighted pine torches in their hands to lead the way.

A Matsuri celebration would not be complete without food.  Etsuko delightfully enjoyed having a proper shaved iced snow cone, just as she remembered it.  At that time, real shaved iced machines were not as prevalent in the Los Angeles area as they are now.

Photo credits: Coleen Uchida-Tamny; Shoji Miyajima

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Yamaga Lantern Dance Festival – Yamaga Toro Matsuri, 1998 - Shaved Ice
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This was submitted by Coleen Uchida-Tamny from Los Angeles County, California and Etsuko Honigsberg from Denver, Colorado, for Discover Nikkei’s Nima-kai Traditions: Matsuri photo activity. * * * * * Traveling to Japan to … More »


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