JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when in crowds.


Most viewed - Koenji Awa Odori Dance 高円寺阿波おどり
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These days, they have 10,000 dancers from 70 dance groups and over 1 million spectators. Also see the video at YouTube.286 viewsいろは連
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Koenji Awa Odori, Aoi Shin-ren 葵新連218 views
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Koenji Awa Odori, Aoi Shin-ren 葵新連217 views
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Crowd at JR Koenji Station on Awa Odori night.184 viewsThe Koenji Awa Odori is basically a parade of dancers. Many groups of dancers from various parts of Japan participate in the parade that follows the main shopping streets near Koenji Station on the Japan Railways Chuo Line in Tokyo.
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The troupe can consist of children (as young as age 2 or 3), women, and men.167 viewsThe Awa Odori originated 400 years ago in Tokushima Prefecture (in Shikoku) where it is one of Japan's most famous festivals. Although it is not as large as the one in Tokushima, the Koenji Awa Odori in Tokyo has become a major summer festival in Tokyo.
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Tokyo Aoi-ren 東京葵連152 views
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Koenji has many shopping arcades and side streets teeming with eateries.152 views
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The dancers hop on one leg.151 viewsSo what is Tokushima's Awa Odori doing in Koenji, Tokyo? It was first organized by a youth group of Koenji's retail merchants in 1957. They wanted to hold an event to attract more shoppers to the area. Neighboring town Asagaya had already started the Tanabata Festival in 1954. The Tanabata Matsuri, of course, is from up north in Sendai, Miyagi Pref. So the Koenji folks decided to transplant a southern festival to Koenji. That was the Awa Odori.
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Tokyo Aoi-ren 東京葵連151 views
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JR Koenji Station and Awa Odori sign.143 views
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After it's over...143 views
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The Koenji Awa Odori has become a major summer festival in Tokyo. It had a humble beginning in 1957 when it was originally called the Koenji Baka Odori. "Baka" means fool.142 views
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Tokyo Aoi-ren 東京葵連142 views
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The dancers wear a light kimono and half-moon straw hats.139 views
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天翔連137 views
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The parade route centers on JR Koenji Station. There are wide and narrow portions of the route.135 viewsIf it rains, they may stop the festival early.
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天翔連135 views
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美遊ひよこ連134 views
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天翔連134 views
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Tokyo Aoi-ren 東京葵連134 views
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Aoi Shin-ren 葵新連133 views
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The dance troupe typically has subgroups of children, women, men, and musicians. Suiko-ren 吹鼓連127 views吹鼓連
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Tokyo Aoi-ren 東京葵連127 views
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Tengu-ren 天狗連127 views
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Budo-ren 富道連126 views富道連
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126 views美遊ひよこ連
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Tengu-ren 天狗連126 views
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天翔連124 views
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美遊ひよこ連123 views
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123 views美遊ひよこ連
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The dance troupes come from in and out of town. A few from Tokushima as well as Kanagawa, Chiba, Shizuoka, and other prefectures. Edokko-ren 江戸っ子連123 views
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Silver-ren 志留波阿連123 views
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Other dancers might also wear a simpler outfit of short pants and happi coat. Swinging around a fan is also common.122 views花の木連
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Hyottoko-ren ひょっとこ連121 views
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Bikkuri-ren びっくり連120 views
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These pictures show over 40 dance troupes which I photographed in 2004 and 2005. Budo-ren 富道連119 views富道連
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Silver-ren 志留波阿連119 views
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F.I.A.-ren えふあいえい連118 views
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Maicho-ren 舞蝶連118 views
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Aoi Shin-ren 葵新連118 views
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Tatsuno Otoshiko-ren たつのおとし子連118 views
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One trademark of the dancers is the crescent-shaped straw hats.117 views
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Aoi Shin-ren 葵新連117 views
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Musicians always bring up the rear of the dance troupe. Taiko drums, flutes, and shamisen. The Awa Odori has a distinct rhythm and beat. It really makes you want to get up and dance.116 views
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Tokushima and Tokyo have the most number of Awa Odori troupes with 40 to 50 each.116 viewsEdokko-ren 江戸っ子連
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Aoi Shin-ren 葵新連116 views
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Kikusui-ren 菊水会菊水連115 views
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Maicho-ren 舞蝶連115 views
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Aoi Shin-ren 葵新連115 views
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Shamisen player who knows how to smile for my camera. Koganei Sakura-ren 小金井さくら連115 views
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The men look more like the "fools."114 views
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Maicho-ren 舞蝶連114 views
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Kokesaku-ren 苔作連114 views
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Each dance troupe is called a "ren." This is the Suiko-ren. 吹鼓連113 views
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Each dance troupe starts with a lantern bearer showing the name of the troupe.112 viewsThe dance is quite simple. While bobbing up and down, the dancer holds her hands above the head and shakes the fingers. This hand gesture indicates that the person has gone crazy. It is therefore nicknamed the "fool's dance." The dance is held on the last weekend in August.
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The first Koenji Awa Odori in 1957 had only 57 dancers and about 2,000 spectators. Iroha-ren いろは連112 viewsThere are now about 30 to 40 Awa Odori parades held in Tokyo alone, usually in shopping areas. The one in Koenji is the largest in Tokyo.
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Midori-ren 美踊連112 views
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Aoi Shin-ren 葵新連112 views
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天翔連112 views
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天翔連112 views
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Kokesaku-ren 苔作連111 views
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Aoi Shin-ren 葵新連111 views
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Silver-ren 志留波阿連111 views
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The Aoi Shin-ren is from Koenji and one of the largest Awa Odori troupes. They are great performers and one of my favorites.111 views
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110 viewsEdokko-ren 江戸っ子連
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Many of the troupe names have pretty meanings such as Maicho-ren which means "Dancing Butterfly." 舞蝶連110 views
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It is most crowded along the large avenues. The crowd is several rows deep. Those in the front are expected to sit down.109 views
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Maicho-ren 舞蝶連109 views
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The dancers also let out a yell as they dance. Hana-no-ki-ren 花の木連108 views
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Aoi Shin-ren 葵新連108 views
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Musashi Minami-ren むさし南連108 views
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Kimagu-ren きまぐ連107 views
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107 viewsMidori-ren 美踊連
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F.I.A.-ren えふあいえい連107 views
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きたまちじゃじゃ馬連106 views
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Also see the video at YouTube.106 views
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Taiko drummers jamming. Tensui-ren 天水連106 views
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Kimagu-ren きまぐ連105 views
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Midori-ren 美踊連105 views
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Goraku-ren 伍楽連104 views
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Asuka-ren 飛鳥連104 views
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Tengu-ren 天狗連104 views
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Sometimes you see a gaijin participant. F.I.A.-ren えふあいえい連102 views
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Mitaka-ren みたか連102 views
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Suzaku-ren 朱雀連102 views
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Hyottoko-ren ひょっとこ連102 views
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Goraku-ren 伍楽連101 views
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Tatsuno Otoshiko-ren たつのおとし子連101 views
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Shinobu-ren しのぶ連101 views
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Hyottoko-ren ひょっとこ連101 views
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Kikusui-ren 菊水会菊水連100 views
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Damudan-ren だむだん連100 views
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Sazanka-ren 杉並区役所さざんか連100 views
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Damudan-ren だむだん連99 views
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Mitaka-ren みたか連98 views
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きたまちじゃじゃ馬連98 views
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Kikusui-ren 菊水会菊水連97 views
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Musashi Minami-ren むさし南連97 views
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Shinobu-ren しのぶ連97 views
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騒連中96 views
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Edo Kabuki-ren 江戸歌舞伎連96 views
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Shinobu-ren しのぶ連95 views
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Sazanka-ren 杉並区役所さざんか連95 views
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A few troupes are company-sponsored and take on the company's name like this one, a construction company.94 viewsThere is even the Microsoft-ren. (Not pictured here.)
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Sharaku-ren 写楽連94 views
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Aoi Shin-ren 葵新連94 views
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Suzaku-ren 朱雀連94 views
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Hanamichi-ren 花道連94 views
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Shinobu-ren しのぶ連94 views
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Edo Kabuki-ren 江戸歌舞伎連94 views
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Sharaku-ren 写楽連93 views
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Yurikamome-ren ゆりかもめ連93 views
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Damudan-ren だむだん連93 views
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Musashi Minami-ren むさし南連92 views
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Damudan-ren だむだん連92 views
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Koganei Sakura-ren 小金井さくら連92 views
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From the Suginami Ward Office, Sazanka-ren 杉並区役所さざんか連92 views
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Tensui-ren 天水連92 views
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Aoi Shin-ren 葵新連91 views
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Ageo Koiki-ren (from Saitama) あげお小粋連91 views
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Musashi Minami-ren むさし南連91 views
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Hanamichi-ren 花道連91 views
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Shinobu-ren しのぶ連91 views
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Asuka-ren 飛鳥連91 views
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Kikusui-ren 菊水会菊水連90 views
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Sharaku-ren 写楽連90 views
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Mitaka-ren みたか連90 views
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騒連中90 views
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Asuka-ren 飛鳥連90 views
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成増チルド連90 views
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Hanamichi-ren 花道連89 views
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88 viewsSharaku-ren 写楽連
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Shinobu-ren しのぶ連88 views
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Edo Kabuki-ren 江戸歌舞伎連88 views
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粋輦連87 views
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Koganei is a city in Tokyo with a park famous for sakura cherry blossoms. Koganei Sakura-ren 小金井さくら連87 views
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Hanamichi-ren 花道連87 views
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Koganei Sakura-ren 小金井さくら連86 views
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84 views
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Hanamichi-ren 花道連84 views
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Sazanka-ren 杉並区役所さざんか連84 views
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成増チルド連81 views
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粋輦連78 views
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Shinobu-ren しのぶ連78 views
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My video of Koenji Awa Odori 2015 第59回高円寺阿波おどり 40連の総集編43 views
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My video of 2016 Koenji Awa Odori (56 troupes) 第60回高円寺阿波おどり 56連の総集編 41 views
000q-koenjiawaodori.youtube
My video of Koenji Awa Odori 2011 Part 2/2 高円寺阿波おどり40 views
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My video of Koenji Awa Odori 2009 Part 2/3 - Kikusui-ren 菊水会菊水連39 views
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My video of Koenji Awa Odori 2009 Part 3/3 - Asuka-ren 飛鳥連39 views
000n-koenjiawaodori.youtube
My video of Koenji Awa Odori 2013 Part 2/3 第57回 東京高円寺阿波おどり 総集編38 views
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My video of Koenji Awa Odori 2013 Part 3/3 第57回 東京高円寺阿波おどり 総集編38 views
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My video of Koenji Awa Odori 2011 Part 1/2 高円寺阿波おどり38 views
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My video of Koenji Awa Odori 2009 Part 1/3 - Kokesaku 苔作38 views
000m-koenjiawaodori.youtube
My video of Koenji Awa Odori 2013 Part 1/3 第57回 東京高円寺阿波おどり 総集編37 views
 
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