- JAS231 Preserving Local Folk Culture (3 credits)
In many communities of Yuwa, Akita City, the “yamahage” festival has been practiced for many years, in which oni monsters visit villagers’ houses on the Little New Year holiday, wishing them sound health in the New Year. Although it is similar to “namahage” of Oga, which is famous nationwide, yamahage is less known to the general public and thus the continuity of the festival has become questionable due to the aging and declining population of those villages.
Since Akita International University is situated in Yuwa, Akita City, from about five years ago the students have been interacting with some of the villages by volunteering to play the roles of yamahage. In this course, the students will learn about the traditional culture of the local community of Yuwa and engage in proactive learning experiences in regard to the optimal approach to preserving and succeeding the folk performing arts as well as to building tourism, by making a comparison to namahage in Oga.
- Dr. Darren J. Ashmore (AIU)