The word "odd festival" might give the impression of a festival held in the seclusion of a remote mountainous area, but surprisingly, it was held at a temple in a densely populated residential area of Tokyo. The festival has been taking place for more than 600 years, making it different from festivals that have been started in recent years to revitalize towns.
The festival is called "Mizutome-no-mai," or "water stop dance," and is held at the temple of Gonsho-ji in Omori. As the name suggests, it is a festival to pray for the rain to stop. There are many festivals throughout Japan to pray for rain, but it is rare to pray for the rain to stop. It is said that when the area suffered from a drought, the priest of Gonsho-ji Temple prayed for rain, but this time it rained too much and caused flooding. Local people, believing that the flooding was caused by their prayers for rain, began to pray for the rain to stop. This was the beginning of the Mizudome-no-mai festival.
The content of the festival is unique, but the Mizudome-no-mai performance is also unusual. A young man dressed as a "dragon god," the god of water, enters a scroll made of rough rope and blows a conch shell, while people pour water mercilessly on the young man. After a while, the young man is lifted up by the scroll and moved several meters before being lowered to the ground and doused with water again. This process is repeated as they make their way toward Gonsho-ji Temple, where a stage has been set up. I do not know whether the sprinkling of water on the dragon god means that he has had enough water. While the sprinklers seemed to be enjoying themselves, the young man being sprinkled on seemed to be having an unexpectedly hard time.
|Nov 2022 PEOPLE TOKYO|
|FESTIVAL OMORI WET YOUNG MAN|
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