My Journey as a Flute Player in the Awa Dance Group

Japanese Traditional Dance: Music and Dancers in Sui-ren


25 Aug

The Koenji Awa dance festival in 2019

I participated in the Awn dance at the Koenji festival.
It was not too hot this year so it was easy to play outside. The cool autumn breeze was also blowing.

My son participated for three days for the first time this year. I think that was because many of his friends joined as members of their team.
I played a new song called “Kohiki-uta” for the famale dancers. I practiced a lot for this song.

Performing on the stage always makes me nervous, but this year, I was able to enjoy it for the first time. Maybe it was because I was too busy to have time to think about extra things. There was too much to do other than just performing on the stage and there was no time for me to relax. In the past, I only concentrated on playing as a flute player, but this year, I also participated in preparations. It seemed that I was able to help the management, and that gives me one of the happiest feelings.

When the Koenji festival was over, I felt like the summer was over.27121297.cd302b4aad4b5dd31b0f2639f6b88cfc.19082621


10 Nov

"Aki-Za" in Koenji 2018

We joined an “Autumn stage performance.” This stage was held in “Za Koenji” where the theater in Koenji is located and 24 teams performed. Sui-ren’s stage started around 7:30 p.m. Usually it takes time to make a good sound when I start to play, so I reserved a studio for practice before the performnce and it worked. We had enough time, anyway. This helped my tension go away, too.

The music I played was the same as I did this summer stage, “Zomeki” “Zomeki-slow version” “Yoshino-gawa” and “Kohiki-uta.” They are all traditional Japanese songs. The most difficult part for me is “Zomeki-slow version” because it was a solo part for me. I closed my eyes for a short period before I started playing this song and it worked to release some tension. I enjoyed the stage and I feel this is a kind of improvement on my part.

27 Aug

Koenji Awa-dance festival in 2018

This year’s Koenji Awa-dance festival was very special to me because of three reasons. First, I played a new music at the stage. Second, I joined Koenji-Godo team for the first time. We have been selected from each team to complete Koenji-Godo. The last reason is because of my daughter. She started to learn Awa-dance when she was five years old. Now that she has grown, she joined Women’s dance team. She was so happy to wear the pale blue kimono that she adored for a long time. It has been her dream to wear this kimono.

For this stage performance, I practiced a year to master these two songs “Kohiiki-uta” and “Zomeki(slow version).“ I practiced for this because I performed the solo part in the slow version of Zomeki. I found a perfect place to practice and play my Japanese flute and that is the Karaoke so I used to go there even by myself for practice!

My performance at the stage was not perfect at all... Because I got very nervous, my flute sound was trembling even though I didn’t plan to play like that! I need to get used to playing in front of an audience, I think.

These were 2 hot days. The temperature went up really high, so it was very hard to march on the street, especially for drummers with big heavy drums. It was my first time to sweat in this late summer festival.

For this Koenji Awa-dance festival, our flute team had a lot of practice. Two new players joined, it is great for me because it was alone until last year. During this festival, the dancers can hear louder flute sound.

It was a big event of end of summer, I feel the summer is gone and I feel a little lonely. IMG_7062
1 Jan

Happy New Year from Koenji!

Happy New Year! Hope you’ll have a great year!

Sui-ren’s first practice this year is January 29th from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Koenji. If you wish to see us practice, and have a glimpse on how we prepare the dance, you can contact us!

28 Dec


The biggest Awa-dance festival in Tokyo is Koenji-Awa-dance festival. Koenji is in Suginami Ward, Tokyo. It's started in 1957. The number of people who join the festival is getting bigger and bigger. More than 10,000 dancers perform and about 900,000 people visit recently.



About the writer
Mayuko Kurosaka

She is a member of Sui-ren. She is a flutist. She's been performing for more than 6 years for the group. She was born in Kawagoe an old city in Saitama. She learned to play traditional instrument when she was a young or a kid. She works as a freelance writer.
you can join and be part of our dynamic and fun group. You are very much welcome to join, so don't hesitate!

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