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Friday, August 12, 2011

Obon (お盆?) Holiday and the importance of Family...

Yesterday evening I was in a small village nestled between Hirono Town and a place called Kuji Village. I had the honor of being a guest to the Nagane Family. The last day and a half I have been photographing the region of Hirono, Kuji and Noda.  While Hirono and Kuji  were damaged they were saved from any loss of life. Noda on the other hand lost close to 1/4 of their population. And consider this small hamlet's population is currently at 5000 inhabitants.  The interesting thing is that the people of Noda Village like many other places I have been while sad for their loss do not visibly show it and are completely present. Today I will be documenting the Obon Holiday. (For me it actually began last night with a very large festive traditional barbecue with Yoiche Nagane and his family. See Pictures below) The Obon Holiday is one of two very important Holidays the other being the New Year where extended family come together and honor their loved one who have passed away.  It is a positive celebration of life as well as death.  In Japan in particular it last three days (beginning at different times/dates in each region). It is a custom that has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which return to their ancestral family places and visit and clean their ancestors' graves; it is also a time when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars. In Japan it has been celebrated for over 500 years and traditionally includes a dance known as Bon-Odori. I will be spending most of this weekend in Noda Village (where the majority of the destruction occurred within this part of the region) taking pictures and shooting video.







Nagane Family

Obon festivities



©2011 Mark Paul Photography All Rights Reserved.

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