Asakusa Samba Carnival – Tokyo, Japan

It’s the time of year when I am usually in “google” mode, and search for all things Carnival, costumes, feathers, beads, boots, accessories, and I happened to come across a video clip of  the Asakusa Samba Carnival, needless to say, my interest was piqued!

The Asakusa Samba Carnival is held annually.  It started in 1981 and it’s usually held on a Saturday towards the end of August, in Asakusa, Tokyo.  The event attracts roughly a half million onlookers.  The main attraction of the festival is the samba parade contest.

 In collaboration with samba teams from the carnival homeland of Brazil, approximately 3,500  samba lovers gather from all over Japan participate. The teams perform dances, and create a vibrant carnival atmosphere very similar to Rio.  Bright colored costumes with beads and plumes and appliqués of many colors can rival those of Trinidad Carnival.  They also have costumes that are unique to Asakusa and push handcarts with sound systems.

 About thirty-five teams participate and compete for prizes. There are three groups, the professional samba dancers and musicians, who are dedicated to dancing real Brazilian samba and playing traditional South American percussion instruments.  These groups of teams even do theme based presentations similar to Trinidad Carnival.

 The other two groups of participants are just there to enjoy dancing the samba and taking part by wearing an amazing costume and participating in the parade route.

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