Nippon Domannaka Matsuri (Nippon Domannaka Festival), or Domatsuri for short, is the largest dance festival in the Chubu region. The festival is held in mid-summer in the city of Nagoya, located in central Japan. At the end of every August, dancers from all over Japan and abroad gather in Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture. Their dances, along with original music and costumes flavored by their local cultural heritage, attract many viewers.
The festival started in 1999, the realization of a dream of some college students who wanted to create a dance festival that would communicate the excitement of dance right here in Nagoya, and express that excitement to the outside world. The first festival had only 26 dance teams with 1,500 performers. Today, the festival welcomes 210 dance teams with 23,000 performers from inside and outside Japan, and some 1.85 million viewers. It has become one of the largest such events in Japan.
The rules of the festival state that each dancer must hold a naruko, or clapper, and that a melody from a local folk tune of the participants’ home area must be incorporated in the music. The teams thus prepare original dances and music that give a sense of their local culture. The greatest characteristic and charm of Domatsuri is that it connects people from many different areas and countries, and gives them an opportunity to vitalize local communities as well as to create and pass on new cultural expressions.