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How to Dance to Tankobushi at Obon

The obon festival season has already started in Hawaii. Tankobushi (coal mine song) is probably the most popular dance number at obon festivals. It's about the Miike Coal Mine, the largest in Japan, that was located on the border of Fukuoka and Kumamoto in northen Kyushu. Many Hawaii Nikkei have ancestors who emigrated from those two prefectures around the turn of the 20th century. The dance is popular at obon festivals in Kumamoto, where I lived for a few years, and probably in Fukuoka and other places in Japan. When I saw the tankobushi in Kumamoto, it took me back to my childhood in Hawaii.

The dance steps are easy to remember if you know what the song is about. Click here to learn them. There are a number of other obon dance lessons on the site. Kagoshima Oharabushi and Kawachi Otokobushi are popular in Hawaii.

Here's another instructional video of Tankobushi.


State-wide obon festival schedule [Star-Advertiser]

Tankobushi [Wikipedia]

More Tankobushi instructions with more verses

Tankobushi at Palolo Hongwanji. Its bon festival is scheduled for F & Sa, Aug 1 & 2, 2014.

Bon Festival [Wikipedia]