The Awa Odori in Paris   パリの阿波踊り

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Awa Odori dancer of the festival (Tokushima), wearing the traditional hat amigasa.

Awa Odori dancer of the festival (Tokushima), wearing the traditional hat amigasa.

The mayor of the fourth arrondissement of Paris, Christophe Girard, surrounded by dancers Awa Odori at the Embassy of France in Japan.

The mayor of the fourth arrondissement of Paris, Christophe Girard, surrounded by dancers Awa Odori at the Embassy of France in Japan.

A procession of dancers Awa Odori during the festival in Tokushima (Shikoku).

A procession of dancers of the Awa Odori during the festival in Tokushima (Shikoku).

Matsuri in the Marais

One of the most famous Japanese matsuri is being exported to Paris: Awa Odori from Tokushima will be sung and danced on the Place des Vosges in the spring of 2015.

The Awa Odori is an institution in Japan. Every summer in August, between 1 and 3 million people rush to Tokushima (Shikoku) to attend the festival ( matsuri ), one of the most famous in the country along with Nebuta (Aomori), Gion (Kyoto) and Tanabata ( Sendai ). And some even say it is one of the largest street festivals in the world!

Nicknamed "the crazy dance" (as it is done at a pace that gets more and more intense, and with the help of some alcohol, its fans almost go into a trance), it is believed that immense choreography is a heritage from ancient Buddhist dances. It became known outside Tokushima thanks to another local specialty: indigo dye, sold by traveling salesmen who spread the news.

Traditionally the recipe for practicing Awa Odori is: dancers grouped by neighborhoods, dancers in yukata wearing amigasa hats, musicians playing traditional instruments, lots of sake and shochu (distilled spirit ... All in a frenzied atmosphere that lasts several days.

Tokushima in Paris

Following Tokushima, Tokyo adopted Awa Odori and since 1954 the district of Koenji ( Shinjuku ), has made it ​​its mid-August festival.

Why not Paris? That was the challenge isued on May 30th to the Embassy of France in Japan by two journalists, Regis Arnaud (Figaro) and Takao Toshikawa (The Oriental Economist Report), who want to get the French capital  dancing in 2015.

Supported by the Japanese government (Ministries of Tourism and Environment), private partners (Airbus) and the region of Tokushima, Awa Odori blue-white-red should be held from May 22nd to 25th, 2015, not in Japanese style, on large avenues, but in Place des Vosges and the surrounding area. At least a hundred dancers and musicians from Tokushima Koenji are expected to get the oldest part of the capital dancing to the rhythm of Awa Yoshikono (the chorus accompanying dances). Fans, curious and enthusiasts are invited to join in the event!

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