Nakano Nanazumai Hozonkai, Iwaizumi, Iwate


From Iwaizumi in Iwate prefecture, this group preserve the artistic dance tradition started in the mid-1800s by local resident Kudo Kitaro. The preservation “hozonkai” is now in its 35th year and has brought its performance tradition to audiences and schools all over Japan. They have a 30-year history of performing at the locally renowned Kitakami Geinou Festival.

Iwaizumi is known for its underground lakes, but the local area was completely changed by the events of the 2011 earthquake. It was a time that challenged everything, including the purpose of arts groups such as the Nakano Manazumai Hozonkai. But, through the support from people all over Japan and the world, the group have managed to survive the disaster and emerge with a yet stronger character.

They have maintained their tradition of performing at the dedication of their local “Hakusan” shrine, and have also adhered to their regular yearly schedule, with a goal of connecting locally, nationally and internationally through the medium of performance. WMDF survived the 2011 disaster, but these survivors were in the direct path, and have a special message to bring to us all.