Live from Akita: The 2019 Akita Kantō Matsuri (Nighttime Lantern Parade)
JapanIn videoGuide to Japan Culture
The Akita Kantō Matsuri originated in the eighteenth century as a midsummer event conducted to drive away diseases and evil spirits and pray for a good harvest. Kantō are long bamboo poles laden with racks of lanterns. The biggest are 12 meters long and can weigh as much as 50 kilograms. Carriers called sashite balance the poles skillfully on the palms of their hands, their foreheads, and other parts of their bodies, calling out a rhythmic chant as they parade. After dark on August 5, some 280 kantō, swaying like ears of rice in the wind, will fill Akita’s main street with their light. See this dazzling spectacle and listen to the sounds of the hayashi festival music and the energetic, rhythmical calls of the carriers, streamed live from Akita on CNA.