Traditional Festivals in Aomori : Aomori Nebuta - 2
(Aomori city, Aomori, Japan)

As for the origin of the Nebuta, there are various theories.

The strong theory is " Nemuri Nagashi" that was performed on the day of Tanabata (Festival of the Weaver) as an event to banish the sleepiness in the agricultural work in the heat of summer, but there are other doubtful theories like the lantern built with the bluff by the Shogun, Tamuramaro Sakanoue, at the moment of Ezo conquest or the large lantern which a feudal lord, Tamenobu Tsugaru, introduced in Kyoto during the Obon festival (for the worship of ancestors) in 1593.

The Nebuta that appeared in literature first was Hiroski Nebuta in 1722. Then, Sadahiko HIrano who worked in Tsugaru Domain's residence in Edo ( old name of Tokyo) drew Hirosaki Nebuta in 1788 in his book "Oumin Zui" in which the circumstances of Tsugaru was recorded. The small lanterns drawn in the book give the impression similar to small floats that follow behind the main float of the present Hirosaki Nebuta.

It was in 1842 that the Aomori Nebuta certainly appeared in literature. At that time. the bearers of the Aomori Nebuta was neighborhood residents.

At the end of Edo era in the middle of 19 century, the large lantern appeared, and, when the era went into Meiji Era, the form became complicated and changed in the samurai's form. Once the height extended and, in 1870, the float 'Treasure ship" by Hamamachi community reached nearly 20-meter height, that is, this is just the present Gigantic Neputa of Goshogawara. For some time, the float to shoulder by a man collected popularity. After World War II, it extended horizontally and became a present form, and the bearer changed from the neighborhood to company staffs.

The location of the prefectural capital enable the support by a company which placed a branch. Therefore, compared with Hirosaki Neputa which bearers are residents. the pomp of a float is conspicuous. A float of the Aomori Nebuta is said to be 20 million Japanese yen per set and the frame by the combination of light steel, wood, bamboo and wire forms a complicated model and it is covered with the Japanese paper thicker than usual.

There was time when a float emphasized height temporarily, •”tthe present Aomori Nebuta is built with the height possible to pass under the signal and electric wire without operation. Unlike the Hiorsaki Neputa Festival or the Hachinohe City Sanjya Festival where a float falls down partially or goes up and down at the signal, a float of the Aomori Nebuta follows the townscape of Aomori obediently.

instead of height, a horizontal spread with 9-meter width and 7-meter depth at maximum is the identity of the Aomori Nebula. It doesn’t cause any problems while passing wide streets as the route of the parade, but, after the parade, a float which returns to a warehouse passes right up between the electric poles on both sides of a road.

Nevertheless, it is humans that want to build to the fullest extent size. I witnessed that a float could not pass through between the electric poles at a return path and the arm came off. Since it is built with the maximum volume to interfere passing through if a road center and the center of a float only shifts slightly, a float must obtain the force, and the team, which does not give up conflict against the townscape, must rule the match of the Nebuta.

It seems that the plasticity of the Nebuta was likely to jump out as it grew dark and the complicated modeling is illuminated from the inside. According to the character of the horizontal volume, the Aomori Nebuta float is designed being conscious of the appearance from four directions more than the Nebuta of other cities, so the impression is changing largely according to the angle to see and, since a motion is further added, it becomes much more dynamic.

Certainly, it is natural that the underlings who had no preliminary knowledge would run away if the enemy had attacked with such a lantern.

To Japanese Version

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Transportation
From Tokyo to Aomori
by train
: 3 hours 20 minutes from “Tokyo Station” to “Shin-Aomori Station” by Shinkansen (high speed train), one service per one hour. Then, 10 minutes from “Shin-Aomori Station” to “Aomori Station” by local train connected with Shinkansen, one service per one hour .
by air : 1 hours 20 minutes from “Tokyo Haneda Airport” to “Aomori Airport”, about 6 services ecah day. 30 minutes by bus from “Aomori Ariport” to “Aomori Station”.

From “Aomori Station” to the site of Aomori Nebuta
The site is within downtown Aomori around “Aomori Station”.

Link
Aomori Nebuta Official Site

Aomori City Office
Aomori City Guide

Aomori Sightseeng Guide

Accommodations
Acoommodations in Aomori

References
"ÂXŒ§‚Ì—ðŽjŽU•à" (ÂXŒ§‚“™ŠwZ’n•ûŽjŒ¤‹†‰ï•Ò, ŽRìo”ÅŽÐ, 2007)
"}àÂXŒ§‚Ì—ðŽj" (¬“c–«¥’·’Jì¬ˆê, ‰Ío‘–[VŽÐ, 1991)
"O‘O‚Ë‚Õ‚½‘¬•ñƒKƒCƒh2011" (˜HãŽÐ, 2011)
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Floats of Aomori Nebuta

Photo by Daigo Ishii

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