web 2.0

Nov 17, 2010

Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri

As you know if you have been to any festival in Japan, it is fairly frequent to see people carrying shrines and carts around.
Have a look at my Gion matsuri pictures, for instance.

However, Osaka is like nowhere else, and had to have a "crazier" variation.
Try to picture this: a wooden cart, several meters tall, over half a ton, carried around town running as fast as possible.

To make things even harder, this portable shrine (called a danjiri, だんじり) is taller than it is wide (to ensure as little stability as possible?), and the whole point is to take corners dangerously fast...
Welcome to the Danjiri matsuri!

The largest of these festivals is taking place in Kishiwada (岸和田だんじり祭り), just south of Osaka, and I was lucky enough to be at this year's edition, back in September.

Two months late, here are some of my pictures.
As it was my first time there, I focused on enjoying the event, rather than taking quality pictures, but I will try harder next year... ;)


Later in the day, the danjiri are back out again, but carried at a more reasonable speed.

I did not use my camcorder, but it is really worth seeing a danjiri in action, so I created a small animation with a series of pictures taken in "sports" mode.

For a more realistic "live" account of them taking corners, I suggest having a look at some YouTube videos, like this one from 2008.
If you are not convinced of the danger of such traditions, a few videos (such as this one) show that things can indeed go wrong, very wrong! According to Wikipedia, it is said that there is at least one danjiri-related death each year, and I am ready to believe that.

However, if you are not one of the brave (crazy?) people handling the danjiri, it is a fairly safe event, and in any case a very enjoyable one.
Highly recommended!

No comments: