What's Awa Odori?
The Awa-Odori (dance) is characterized by the jovial and energetic up-tempo rhythm. Separated into groups of men and women, the dancers parade through the city while dancing to music played on drums, gongs used when praying to Buddha and at festivals, three-stringed Japanese musical instruments, and flutes. The basic rule of this dance is to move your right arm forward with your right leg and your left arm forward with your left leg in turns to the two-beat rhythm.
This simple and cheerful dance entertainment is one of the most famous summer festivals in Japan. During the festival, which is held for four days from August 12th to 15th every year, downtown Tokushima City is filled with street dancing teams, with the core on the southern avenue stretching from Tokushima Station. People dance everywhere, on the main streets, in small squares or even on back streets. More than 1.3 million tourists enchanted by the fervor of the festival visit Tokushima, formerly known as Awa.
Awa Odori as a huge, city-wide dance party is believed to have begun in 1586 when Lord Hachisuka Iemasa, the daimyo of Awa Province hosted a drunken celebration of the opening of Tokushima Castle. The locals, having consumed a great amount of sake, began to drunkenly weave and stumble back and forth. Others picked up commonly available musical instruments and began to play a simple, rhythmic song, to which the revelers invented lyrics.
Where is Tokushima?
Tokushima Prefecture is located in the eastern part of Shikoku, Japan. Its coastline faces the Seto Inland Sea to the North and the Kii Channel and Pacific Ocean from the East to the South. It covers an area of approximately 4,147km2, which is roughly equivalent to 1.1% of Japan's overall land area.
The population of Tokushima Prefecture is 789,146 as of April 1, 2009
Above is the feminine style Awa odori.