Went to the Nakasu Festival this weekend in a district of Fukuoka usually known more for its hostess bars and seedier elements. The festival centers around a group of 50 women carrying a shrine on their shoulders through the city. They carry it a bit, stop, some sort of performance is held and then the women lift the statue again to carry it to the next site.
Getting large groups together to carry heavy objects is a pretty common festival theme here. Near Nakasu in Hakata, there’s a Yamakasa Festival, where naked men (save for a thong) wake up at 3 a.m. to run a 2km race through the city carrying a 1-ton statue to a shrine. The winning statue remains at the shrine for the rest of the year.
In Nakasu, 6 women stand on top of the beams carrying the statue, leading the chant in a call-and-response to the carriers. I was going to upload some audio, but no one wants to hear the 2 and a half minutes of 50 women chanting “Seya!”
So instead here’s an mp3 of another Taiko performance by the same guys in the video: