Akita Kanto Festival

The Akita Kanto Festival is one of the Three Great Festivals of the northeast region of ‘Tohoku’. With a history stretching back for more than 250 years, it is a designated Important Intangible Folk Culture Property. Candle-lit lanterns, known as ‘kanto’, are hung on bamboo poles to resemble ears of rice, with these being combined into symbolic rice bales as a prayer for an abundant harvest. As the performers move, they balance these long poles on their foreheads, their hips, or their shoulders, a skill that requires long days of training and an excellent sense of balance. This is a traditional skill honed to the point of craft.