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Over 1,000 perform traditional dance at Awa Odori festival in Tokushima

Women perform the traditional Awa dance on Aug. 12, 2019, in the city of Tokushima during the annual Awa Odori festival. (Mainichi/Kenji Ikai)

TOKUSHIMA -- More than 1,000 people performed a traditional dance at the famous Awa Odori festival in this western Japan city on Aug. 12 to mark the start of the four-day extravaganza, according to organizers of the event.

The festival started shortly before 6 p.m. on the day, and a total of more than 1 million spectators are expected to attend the event through Aug. 15.

At a venue in front of the city office, male and female performers wearing traditional "happi" attire danced in rhythm to the lively tunes. The men performed powerfully while keeping a low posture, while the women displayed graceful, synchronized movements.

The festival was the subject of controversy last year after famous groups of star dancers went ahead with gala dancing, despite an earlier decision by the Tokushima Municipal Government, the lead organizer of the summer festival in 2018, to cancel the particular performance in a bid to improve the sales of tickets in other festival areas.

(Japanese original by Ayane Matsuyama, Tokushima Bureau)

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