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Photo Journal: Office ogre


An adult dressed as a "Namahage" demon prowls around the Akita Prefectural Government office in the city of Akita on Feb. 6, shouting out the words, "Are there any lazy workers here?" -- in order to promote the forthcoming "Namahage Sedo Festival." The event will take place in the city of Oga, in Akita Prefecture, between Feb. 10 and 12. The tradition of dressing up as a "Namahage" has been thriving in the city of Oga for many years, and during the performance on Feb. 6, nine of these "demons" appeared at the prefectural government office in red and blue colors. The characters even walked into the office of Akita Prefecture Gov. Norihisa Satake just one day before a prefectural assembly is due to be held. The demons jokingly teased Gov. Satake -- who is particularly fond of alcohol -- with phrases such as "Drinking too much alcohol is a bad idea!" and also invited him to the Sedo festival by saying, "Please come to the festival too, governor!" Traditionally, "Namahage" demons prowl around on New Year's Eve, shouting out, "Are there any bad kids about?" but the Sedo festival in February is also popular, as the demons come down from the snowy mountains, waving torches in the pitch black surroundings. (Mainichi)

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