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SERIES A Passionate Challenger | Nebuta Artisan Asako Kitamura


ねぶた師 北村麻子 [MBS]

|Length : 25min |Year : 2023

The Aomori Nebuta Festival is one of the three major festivals of the Tohoku region and is also designated as an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property by the government. It features a majestic spectacle of large “Nebuta” floats that are paraded through the city along with people chanting "Rassera, Rassera." Reaching a size of nine meters wide, seven meters long, and five meters tall, Nebutas are considered to be the world’s largest paper crafts.
Asako Kitamura is the first female artisan to create these giant works. It was long thought that the creation process was too much for a female to handle; the physically demanding and at times dangerous work involves drawing sketches with a paintbrush, creating massive parts with numerous wires, building the framework with hammers and saws, and climbing up high.
The Nebuta Festival is no mere show for the giant floats; it is a competition. Every year, the floats are evaluated and ranked by judges. Asako started her training at the age of 25 under her father Takashi, who is the sixth-generation Nebuta Master. In 2012, she surpassed her father and placed third with her debut work. In her fifth year, her Nebuta won the grand prize. The program follows Asako as she prepares for the festival, returning after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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