Six years since the Great East Japan Earthquake, the Ofunato station area celebrated its Machibiraki [ceremony to "re-open" the city] this spring. There will be stage performances by participants from Sanriku and other Asian regions. Yokagura [scared Shinto dance of the night], community dances, and international performances and art forms will illuminate the large Kyassen commercial area and Suzaki River hydrophilic areas.
What is the Sanriku International Arts Festival "SanFes"?
The coastal area of Sanriku suffered extensive damage as a result of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami. However, the region remains an internationally unrivalled treasure trove of provincial art with over two thousand forms of traditional folk entertainment including the Shishimai [Deer Dance] and Kagura [sacred Shinto dance] traditions.
The Sanriku International Arts Festival was inspired by the traditions that have been passed down throughout many generations in the Sanriku coastal area and which still continue to this day. Held annually since 2014, the two objectives of the festival are to "share the attraction of folk performing arts" and to "create exchange among people through local and international art." By way of holding an international arts festival, the folk performing arts of Sanriku has had the chance to become connected with the world through various cultural exchanges while dealing with the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and "recovering through culture and art."
Theme: From Daily Life to Art
Mixing the world's diverse cultures and art is the message of the Sanriku International Arts Festival and to share the creative moment. This year, the festival will gather a variety of artists and art organizations including female and younger flame keepers from afflicted areas in Sanriku and other Asian regions.
In order to develop communication and network among local performing arts in Sanriku and Asian countries, the Japan Foundation Asia Center has been co-operating with the Sanriku International Arts Festival since 2015.