In celebration of the new year, a troupe performed a traditional “shishimai” lion dance on Jan. 2 in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, offering inspiration to survivors of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
The dancers traveled from home to home in the disaster area, eventually arriving at Yonesaki Junior High School, where children and elders alike came out to see the exciting show. Temporary housing has been erected in the schoolyard for survivors of the quake.
The shishimai dance features a lion figure that is operated by several dancers inside a colorful costume. The lion dances to music from a Japanese flute and drums as the audience shouts words representing prayers for good health and an uneventful year: "Keep the devil away from us, joiwana, joiwana." The cheerful sounds of the new year event echoed across town.
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