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Higashimuta Village in Mashiki’s Shimada Ward Manages to Preserve Traditional Festival

Many areas in Kumamoto Prefecture were severely affected by the earthquake in April, 2016. Among them, Mashiki town is one of the worst hit areas, suffering much from the human and property damage caused by the disaster. JEN has been helping the local communities in Mashiki’s Shimada Ward remove debris since June.
The first festival after the quake was held at Higashimuta village, Shimada Ward, in the town of Mashiki. We are delighted to report how this festival went.
While the village has a tradition of holding its summer shrine festival, the villagers had planned to cancel it this year as the shrine has suffered tremendous damage from the quake. Young people in the village, however, gave the cancellation plan some serious thoughts (what the tradition means to them and the festival is for) and came to the conclusion that they should hold the festival as usual despite the tough situation the village was experiencing. Thus, with support from the outside, they managed to maintain their tradition.
Almost all locals living in Higashimuta village participated in the festival. A booth where professional chefs provided dishes was established, a lively music show was provided by a traditional band, and a comical act was performed by comedians.
Overall, the festival was a huge success. One of the organizers said, “Nothing is more enjoyable for men and women of all ages than the festival in our community. I’m happy many people came and joined the festival.” He looked pleased with the result.
Moreover, some of the people were able to have a chance to meet their former neighbors. The festival has therefore, more than ever, strengthened community ties.
【Many locals visited the festival site.】
【Colorful events and entertainment performances by the comedians (left) and the band (right) were held.】

August 25, 2016 in Kumamoto |