“Taking Part in a Festival for Recovery, ‘Ryori Damashii’” by Michiko Chida
On March 2, Yoshikazu, Yoko and Motofumi were invited to join a festival called “Ryori Damashii” (meaning Ryori Spirit) in the Ryori area of Ofunato City, Iwate. They gave a heartfelt performance as part of our ongoing “Heartbeat Project.” A year ago, we were introduced to this festival’s organizers through our connections with various people concerned with the disaster-affected areas in Tohoku. Each local area has been making an effort to recover, but everything is still a work-in-progress. Three years have passed since the Tohoku Pacific Earthquake and the committee planned this festival to reawaken local love for their hometown. The organisers hand out disaster prevention information, offer community activities for children, actively uphold their local traditional performing arts, and are hoping that they will be able to hold a big “Five Year Festival” in two years time. This is an amazing festival filled with the warmth of their community, created by everyone from young children to senior citizens.
As well as Kodo, there was another group invited from Sado Island, “Matsugasaki Wakashu Demon Dance.” The Kodo Cultural Foundation and NPO Sado Geino Densho Kiko introduced this group to the festival. They visited 3 areas and shared their taiko, flute playing and demon dancing, raising their voices to the mountains and out to sea in Ryori.
Watching this exciting performance, the young Ryori locals couldn’t sit still. At the party after the festival, both young people from Sado and Ryori performed, inspiring and invigorating each other. I believe the whole community will use this energy to make their “Five Year Festival” dream come true. The young people in Matsugasaki now support this festival in Ryori, and they returned to Sado with renewed energy to put into upholding their own festival on Sado, too. I hope that we can maintain ties between Ryori and Sado through local performing arts and community events from now on.
Yoshikazu and Yoko are looking up at a stone staircase as they listen to a story about the height of the tsunami waves which damaged them, told by Mr. Chiba, head of the festival committee. Behind them is the new gate (torii) at the shrine entrace, which was donated by Mr Chiba and Mr Kumgaya of the festival committee in early 2013. It replaced the one that the tsunami washed away in 2011.