By ATSUO BEPPU
Born in Tokyo in 1938. Passed his boyhood on Amami-oshima island. Moved to Amami again in 1974 from Tokyo. Interested in taking pictures, shooting videos and fishing.











yHARVEST FESTIVAL AT YUI z

 


The annual Harvest Festival at Yui, Setouchi-cho, is designated as an intangible folk-cultural asset of Kagoshima Prefecture.

It is held on August 15 according to the lunar calendar. (This year, it fell on September 12.)

 

This traditional festival is thought to be an evolved form of agricultural rites, especially concerning rice farming. Humorous skits performed with masks worn by performers and a sumo exhibition dedication are among the remarkable features of the event. 

 

Today, rice is mostly imported from the mainland of Japan. The necessary straw to make a big rope comes from the rice paddy belonging to the Yui Etementary-and-Junior-HIgh school next to the event site. (As the second  photo shows, a Chinese-style figure of a lion symbolizing an evil spirit cuts the straw rope in two, which is repaired by the wrestlers again.) Keeping the festival going seems not so easy, because many young people are working far from home. The school once boasted over 200 students, but today there are only nine students.

 

The last photo shows the floating pier of Yui Village, which moves vertically according to the ebb and flow of the tide. Isnft this an environmental-friendly structure for a small village like Yui?