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Amazing Aura of Aormori’s Nebuta

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Yui Yokoyama, right, and Professor Toru Anami of Edogawa University talk about nebuta.

I sat down and talked with Toru Anami, a professor of folklore at Edogawa University, about Aomori Prefecture’s nebuta festivals. The theme this time is none other than the nebuta themselves.

Yui Yokoyama: The first time I saw the nebuta at Aomori Nebuta Festival, I was amazed at the sheer size of them.

Anami: They’re 9 meters wide.

Yokoyama: Wow, that’s amazing! Have they always been so big?

Anami: In the past, they were small enough to be carried. They only became as large as they have today during the period after the World War II. While the area recovered from the war, the roads in Aomori were widened, making the creation of large and wide nebuta possible.

Yokoyama: I got the impression that many of their designs feature warriors, dragons and demons. Why is that?

Anami: Although there’s no limitation on the design, the more powerful a nebuta appears, the more likely it is to be well-received. Because of that, those sorts of nebuta became more widespread. However, the smaller ones that lead them in the procession are more colorful and even feature anime characters.

Yokoyama: The city of Hirosaki’s neputa is flat and shaped like a fan, while the city of Goshogawara’s Tachi-neputa stands very tall, so even though the design motifs are similar, their overall shapes can vary.

Anami: Yes, their designs were both based on warrior paintings, so there are many battle aspects to them.

Yokoyama: That’s right, it really gives them the image of two people facing off. That’s why they are all so amazing.

akb48 team 8 yokoyama
Yui Yokoyama
Born on Feb. 22, 2001. She takes pride in being the leader of the 48 dance group and once taking center stage during a music show.