JAPAN PHOTOS

By Philbert Ono

Image search results - "hula"
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Entrance to Ikaho Onsen. Ikaho Spa has two Hawaii connections. One is with Hawaiian Minister to Japan Robert W. Irwin who had a summer house in Ikaho.
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Ikaho is also a sister city of Hawaii island. During Aug. 5-7, 2003, Ikaho hosted the 7th King Kalakaua Merrie Monarch Hawaiian Festival featuring hula performances by numerous Japanese hula groups.
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In the evenings, Hawaii's top hula halau (winner of the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hawaii) performed as the festival's main event. Photo: Flags of Hawaii and Ikaho town (merged with Shibukawa in 2006).
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Town parking lot with a makeshift stage and main venue of the festival. The "Merrie Monarch" refers to King David Kalakaua who reigned over the Hawaiian Kingdom 1874-1891. He promoted hula in Hawaii as well as Japanese immigration to Hawaii.
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Canopy for the spectators fronting the main outdoor stage.
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Main stage where many Japanese hula troupes performed during the day for three days. Free admission.
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Tahitian dances were also performed.
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Hawaiian souvenirs for sale.
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Ikaho is famous for the Stone Steps lined with shops. A section of it also served as a second hula stage during the day.
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Hula on the Stone Steps 石段街
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Hula workshops are also offered during the day at cost. A famous kumu hula teacher from Hawaii teaches the class.
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Other workshops are held such as ukulele lessons and a lei-making class.
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In the evenings, the overall winner of the annual Merrie Monarch Festival in Hawaii performed on stage. In 2003, it was Hula Halau 'O Kamuela from Oahu. They performed both the ancient hula kahiko dances (pictured here) and modern auana dances in Ikah
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The Ikaho hula festival is officially sanctioned by The Merrie Monarch Festival, held in spring in Hilo, Hawaii. It is the most important and prestigious hula competition.
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Hula is also performed by men. These photos were taken during the 7th Ikaho Hawaiian Festival (Aug. 5-7, 2003).
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Hula dancers
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They wore a variety of colorful costumes and used various hula instruments such as these frayed bamboo sticks called Pūʻili.
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Modern hula dances such as this one is mainly for tourist entertainment.
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After the bamboo sticks, the girls used a gourd drum called ipu.
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Finally, they use feathered gourd rattles called Ulīʻulī.
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They are professional hula dancers, some of the best in the world.
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The kumu hula is Kamana'o Anson Kauionalani or Kaui for short. He does a solo dance here. The music was performed by a wonderful Hawaiian trio called 'Ale'a.
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Finale. Also see photos of the 2008 Ikaho Hawaiian Festival here.
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The ceremony included hula chanting and dancing.
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Hula dancers watch the ceremony
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Hula dancing at a phallus festival?? (Click photo to learn why.)Because hula can also be considered as a sexually-suggestive dance. The way they sway the hips, etc., can be sexy enough to stir up your loins...
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Hula
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Hula and cherry blossoms
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Hula and cherry blossoms
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Hula and cherry blossoms
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Hula and cherry blossoms
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On Aug. 8, 2009 at 12:30 pm, they held the 1st Waraji Day Dance Contest on Ekimae-dori. (わらじDayダンス選手権)
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For a few hours, numerous dance groups performed in a contest. They even had a hula troupe dance, to my delight as I'm from Hawaii.
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Notice anything unusual about these hula dancers?
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Look at their footwear. They are wearing a pair of waraji straw sandals.
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Also see my YouTube video here.
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Hula dancers
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Apparently, it was their first time to appear in this festival.
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They weren't wearing waraji.
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Also see my YouTube video here.
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Then I stumbled across this arch kite.
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To my delight, it was an arch kite of hula girls.
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The hula girls were joined by Awa Odori girls from Tokushima.
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They're even wearing a lei and a flower in their hair!!
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Huge arch kite of hula girls and Awa Odori dancers.
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Needless to say, this was my favorite kite at the festival. How did they know someone from Hawaii was coming?
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Their feet fluttered in the wind and their hips rocked left and right like real hula dancers.
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The Awa Odori dancers also danced great in the wind. (Watch my video.)
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Hiko-nyan (Hikone Castle's official mascot) meets hula girls!
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Hula lesson for kids at the Beach Theater in the Water Park.
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Hula lesson for kids at the Beach Theater in the Water Park.
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Beach Theater shows are free, but they also sell tickets for the best seats for ¥600 to ¥800.
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Colored seats are reserved and cost extra.
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Hula Girl Polynesian Revue at 1:30 pm to 2:15 pm at the Beach Theater.
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The live band were all Japanese. All the dancers were Japanese and most are from Fukushima.
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Fire knife dancers are the highlight and crowd pleasers. They are Japanese, but well-trained and highly skilled with the fire.
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Great dancers and great show!
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This is Maluhia Yukari, the leader of the hula girls. She was a pivotal in taking the lead following the 3/11 disasters and promoting Spa Resort Hawaiians on tour. She retired in June 2012. マルヒア由佳理
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At the end of the show, people who paid for reserved seats could have their picture taken with the hula girls.
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The Hula Museum shows the history of Spa Resort Hawaiians first established as Joban Hawaiian Center in 1966.
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Congratulatory letter from the Governor of Hawaii, Linda Lingle, upon the opening of the Hula Museum.
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Congratulatory letter from the mayor of Kauai upon the opening of the Hula Museum.
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How Spa Resort Hawaiians got its start.
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Recruitment of hula girls.
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Shortly after Joban Hawaiian Center opened in 1966, famous singer Aunty Genoa Keawe from Hawaii performed here.
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Hawaiian movie posters.
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Hawaiian records by Japanese artists.
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The second room of the Hula Museum introduces hula.
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The 2006 comedy movie, "Hula Girl" was a major hit and made Spa Resort Hawaiians famous again. Awards given to the movie.
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Autographs by the actors and actresses in the movie, "Hula Girl."
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Autographs by the actors and actresses in the movie, "Hula Girl."
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Autographs by the actors and actresses in the movie, "Hula Girl."
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The Hula Museum also has a small stage where this band performed at 12:30 pm.
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Hula implements.
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My video of Spa Resort Hawaiians. Visit Fukushima, visit Spa Resort Hawaiians!
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Main venue of the Ikaho Merrie Monarch Hawaiian Festival held every summer in Ikaho Spa, Gunma Prefecture since 1997. It is on a city-operated parking lot. 伊香保ハワイアンフェスティバル会場
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The main venue has two large adjoining tents. The tent on the left covers the stage, and the one on the right covers the audience seats. The place is ringed by outdoor shops selling Hawaiian goods (mainly clothing).
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About 600 seats at the main venue. Ikaho's connection to Hawaii lies with the summer residence of Robert Walker Irwin, the Hawaiian Minister to Japan during the late 19th century.
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The Hawaiian festival's opening ceremony was held on the festival's first day on Aug. 3, 2008. Among Japan's many hula festivals, this one is unique since it is organized by a city government based on sister-city ties.
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The opening ceremony included a few speeches and a ukulele performance by Mr. San'uemon Chigira, the chairman of the festival committee.
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Short greetings by Luana Saiki-Kawelu, Assistant Director of the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo, Hawaii. Ikaho's Hawaiian festival is Japan's only hula event officially endorsed by the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo.
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A few words by Kau'i Kamana'o, kumu hula of Hula Halau 'O Kamuela who was the festival's guest performer and overall winner of the 2008 Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo, Hawaii.
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Kumu hula Kunewa Mook also speaks at the opening ceremony. In the background is the flag of the city of Shibukawa. In Japan, all cities, towns, and villages have their own official logo and flag.
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Kumu hula Aloha Dalire, instructor of the Hawaiian seminars during the festival, also greets the audience. アロハ・ダリレ
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Thomas Goya, from Hilo and president of the Japanese Community Association of Hawaii, speaks as a representative of the County of Hawai'i, Ikaho's sister city. ハワイ島日系人協会会長
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Tommy Hirano, Honorary Consul-General of Japan from Hilo, Hawaii also speaks. It was his first visit to Ikaho.
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Signboard at the entrance to Ikaho Spa. ("Monach" is spelled wrong.) "Monach"はスペルミス。
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Main venue of the Ikaho Hawaiian Festival. メイン会場
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Shops around the main venue.
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More shops on the lower level.
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Shops on the lower level.
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During Aug. 3-6, 2008, about 390 hula groups (totaling 4,700 people) performed on this stage. About 838 hula groups applied to perform, and only 390 could be selected to appear.
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Every 4 minutes, a new group of hula dancers went on and performed on stage. This went on for four days 10 am to 6 pm (except on the first day when it started from 1 pm).
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The first day featured Keiki Hula (hula by children).
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Once upon a time, hula in Japan was mainly done by elderly women. Not anymore as hula's popularity has spread to all ages in Japan.
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All the seats were filled during the all-day performances. So many hula groups applied to perform during the festival that Ikaho had to draw lots to decide who could appear.
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For many women, hula is good exercise, recreational fun, or a chance to look and feel like a different person. The colorful costumes, flowers, attractive movements, and glamorous setting are all very appealing.
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Kupuna 4分ごとに各フラチームがステージで出演。
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The famous Stone Steps of Ikaho. Ikaho is on a mountain slope, and the Stone Steps goes through the center of the hot spring town. It is lined with shops and inns. ("Monach" is spelled wrong.) "Monach"はスペルミス
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One section of the Stone Steps also served as another venue for Ikaho's Hawaiian Festival. 「街角フラ」石段にて
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This venue is called "Machikado Hula." (Street corner hula). It went on from 11 am to 5 pm during the four-day festival (except on the first day when it started from 1 pm).
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The audience sit on the Stone Steps to watch the "Street corner hula." So what did they do when it rained?
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A few hula dancers take a break after performing their number on the Stone Steps.
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A total of five 90-min. Hawaiian seminars were held during Ikaho's Hawaiian festival in Aug. 2008, and they were all taught by kumu hula Aloha Dalire who was very well received by the (thrilled) students.
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Kumu hula Aloha Dalire explains that she is a 7th-generation kumu hula in her family, and produced five Miss Aloha Hulas at the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo, including all three of her daughters and Kuhi Suganuma, the 2008 Miss Aloha Hula.
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Aloha Dalire taught seminars in hula history, Hawaiian expression, and lei-making (pictured here). She brought a boxful of a'ali'i flowers for lei-making. All the students had heard of the flower, but it was the first time for them to see it.
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Aloha also taught two hula workshops. For the first workshop, she taught the song "Nani Lawa'i" (sung by Na Palapalai). First, she had the students close their eyes and listen to the song.
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Aloha Dalire teaching hula in Ikaho. The Hawaiian workshops were held at the Ikaho Kaikan Hall in central Ikaho. アロハ・ダリレが教えるフラセミナー
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For the second hula workshop, Aloha taught the song "Nani Manoa." The workshops were held at Ikaho Kaikan hall. 伊香保会館
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It cost 30,000 yen to take all five seminars or 10,000 yen for one seminar. The hula seminars were the most popular. Free ukulele lessons were also taught at a different venue by a Japanese teacher.
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Students who attended all five Hawaiian seminars were given a Certificate of Completion signed by Aloha Dalire who enjoyed teaching the seminars. She then freely signed autographs and took pictures with the students.
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From 7 pm to 8:30 pm, the Hawaiian Waiwai Party allowed anybody to go up front and dance the hula. Hawaiian music provided by a Japanese Hawaiian band (Dan Yamamoto & Ikaho Hawaiians).
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Hawaiian Waiwai Party ("Waiwai" means boisterous.)
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After the Waiwai Party was a nightly drawing for prizes. People staying at any Ikaho inn/hotel would receive a lottery ticket which they put in this large box. The grand prize was a trip for two to Hawaii. The prize drawing was held on all four nights.
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Guests of Honor from Hawaii were introduced to the crowd.
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The nightly main event was an hour-long Merrie Monarch hula show by Hula Halau 'O Kamuela, the overall winner of the 2008 Merrie Monarch Festival held in Hilo, Hawaii.
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Every year, the overall winner of the Merrie Monarch Festival is invited to perform at Ikaho's Hawaiian festival. They started with a hula kahiko (ancient hula) dance.
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This was a song about paddling a canoe, I think.
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Dreamy stage lighting.
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Colorful costumes and lots of eye candy.
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Crowd-pleasing performance.
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Kumu hula Kau'i Kamana'o does a solo number.
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Many more photos of this show here.
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On the last day of the festival on Aug. 6, 2008, a closing ceremony was held at 8 pm before the prize drawing and Merrie Monarch Show. Luana Saiki-Kawelu gives a few words.
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Aloha Dalire also speaks during the closing ceremony.
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Thomas Goya during the closing ceremony.
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Tommy Hirano during the closing ceremony.
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The Honorable Jiichi Kogure, mayor of Shibukawa, lauds the festival during the closing ceremony. 渋川市長 木暮治一
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Mayor Kogure speaks with Aloha Dalire and Luana Kawelu after the Merrie Monarch Show.
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On the last night of the festival, a farewell party was held for the Hawaii delegation. Shibukawa city council chairman Katsuaki Oshima (left) and Mayor Kogure pose with members of Hula Halau 'O Kamuela.
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Members of Hula Halau 'O Kamuela try Japanese-style dancing during the farewell party.
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Group shot of the Hawaii gang and Ikaho Hawaiian Festival Committee.
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Hawaiian celebrities Aloha Dalire and Luana Kawelu pose with yet another group of Japanese hula dancers in a hotel lobby in Ikaho.
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More photos here.
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Hula Halau'O Kamuela from Oahu won the overall title at the 2008 Merrie Monarch Festival held in Hilo, Hawai'i. The overall winner is also invited to perform at Ikaho Spa's annual Hawaiian Festival held in August.
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For the 12th Ikaho Hawaiian Festival held during Aug. 3-6, 2008, Hula Halau'O Kamuela performed every night for an hour as the festival's main event (free admission). 伊香保ハワイアンフェスティバルのメリーモナークショー
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Their first number was hula kahiko (ancient hula). The performance was held from 8:45 pm to 9:45 pm. On the third night (Aug. 5), the show was unfortunately cancelled due to heavy nighttime rains.
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For the three shows they did perform, each show was slightly different. For people who saw all three shows, they got something different from each show.
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Hula kahiko started with a chant. ショーは夜の8:45〜9:45、フラカヒコで始まった。8月5日の第三の夜は雷雨のため中止となった。これらの写真は4日と6日に撮影。毎晩、ちょっと違うショーだった
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They used one 'uli'uli, a feathered gourd rattle.
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The photos on this page were taken on two different nights.
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Many of the girls were still high school students.
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Two of the girls were students at the high school I graduated from in Honolulu.
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One of my favorite shots.
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On the left side of the stage was the Hawaiian flag.
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Backbend was a real crowd pleaser.
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After the backbend.
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Music was provided by Puka on bass, Aaron Sala on keyboard and Kunewa Mook on ukulele.
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More eye candy with colorful, shimmering grass skirts.
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A touch of elegance with this solo number.
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Māhealani Mika Hirao-Solem who later became Miss Aloha Hula at the 2010 Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo, Hawai'i.
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Māhealani Mika Hirao-Solem performs at Ikaho, Japan. She later became Miss Aloha Hula 2010. Shadows on her velvety gown look good.
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Her lit arms pierce the dark...
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Kumu hula Kau'i Kamanao in a cheerful duet.
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Hula girl
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Māhealani Mika Hirao-Solem who later became Miss Aloha Hula at the 2010 Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo, Hawai'i.
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Māhealani Mika Hirao-Solem
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In the background is the flag of the city of Shibukawa, the sister city of the County of Hawai'i (island of Hawai'i or the Big Island).
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Love
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