Minyo (Japanese Folk Dance and Song)
Minyo has been handed down from generation to generation. These dances evolved from ancient traditions when people danced and sang to pray for good harvest and honor their ancestors. Nearly every district of Japan has a rich heritage of songs that reveal the characteristics of the local people and their history. There are rice planting and fishing songs, as well as songs of carpenters, miners, sailors and craftsmen. Some lyrics praise scenic beauty, and others tell stories of historical figures and festivals. The performances at the Minyo Minbu Festival during the Cherry Blossom Festival will include singing and dancing to Japanese folk songs and Shamisen Gasso (Shamisen mass play).
Koto (Japanese 13-Stringed Zither)
The koto, or Japanese harp, is one of the most popular Japanese musical instruments. For generations, a young Japanese woman’s ability to play this instrument has been considered a sign of social accomplishment. Early in Japan’s history it was used for vocal accompaniment in ceremonial music at the emperor’s court. The San Francisco Bay Area is fortunate to experience three different traditions of koto music. During the Festival you will have the opportunity to hear various schools perform.