IWAKI, Fukushima Prefecture--Students from 15 senior high schools staged stunning performances of hula dance here to encourage residents battered by last year's natural disasters.
The second Hula Girls Koshien contest was held Aug. 19.
Iwaki, a city of about 330,000 people, hosts the Spa Resort Hawaiians amusement complex that is renowned for its Hula Girls dance troupe.
The first Hula Girls Koshien competition was scheduled to be held in Iwaki in March last year, but was postponed because of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, which caused extensive damage to the coastal area.
The competition was eventually held six months later in Tokyo.
Fifteen senior high school teams from Tokyo and five prefectures competed at the event on Aug. 19.
Spectators packed the venue, offering boisterous applause to encourage the students.
"I was able to express my feelings for my hometown through dance," said Anju Matsumoto, 18, of Ayase High School in Kanagawa Prefecture, who evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture after the disaster.
The members of five top-ranked high schools, including Tokiwagi Gakuen High School in Sendai, which won the highest award, were expected to perform at Spa Resort Hawaiians on Aug. 20.
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