Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Blood, Candlelight and Yakisoba - Ekin Festival in Akaoka

How often does one get the chance to enjoy art bathed in candlelight whilst eating yakisoba washed down with beer? Once a year in Kochi's Akaoka Town, that is!
Every year on the 3rd weekend of July, Akaoka's streets are lined with spooky pictures and abuzz with festival spirit. These spooky pictures are the work of late local artist Ekin (絵金), and feature scenes from famous kabuki plays painted on folding screens.

The works are very delicate and to preserve it (and also to create its eerie feel), candles are placed in front of the screens that serve as the only street lighting after sun down -- even vending machine lights are switched off!

Ekin was born in Kochi and is famous for his shibai-e byoubu (芝居絵屏風), theatrical pictures drawn on folding screens. Often they depict several scenes in one, and they are usually big screens that are displayed on lantern carts (台提灯) used in ceremonious occasions.

See this festival this coming weekend on the 16th and 17th, from 6pm to 9pm in Akaoka!

There will also be a free kabuki play on at the beautiful theatre Bentenza from 5pm on both days. Directions here.

Check out more on the Ekin website.

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