- Title: Traditional Japanese lantern shop struggle as virus cancels festivals
- Date: 24th March 2020
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (MARCH 21, 2020) (REUTERS) CHERRY BLOSSOMS AT SUMIDA PARK CHERRY BLOSSOM TREES BY SUMIDA RIVERSIDE PEOPLE SITTING BY TREES CHERRY BLOSSOMS VARIOUS OF YAMAZAKIYA GENSHICHI LANTERN STORE OWNER AND CRAFTSMAN, NORIO YAMADA DESIGNING AND PAINTING CHINESE CHARACTER LETTERS ON LANTERN (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) YAMAZAKIYA GENSHICHI LANTERN STORE OWNER AND CRAFTSMAN NORIO YAMADA, SAYING: "Lantern shops that are involved in cherry blossom festivals are struggling due to many festivals canceling at the last minute. I have heard that many are having a hard time." POSTER FOR CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL ON WINDOW ANNOUNCING CANCELLATIONS CANCELLATION DATES OF CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVALS IN MARCH AND APRIL SHOWN ON POSTER (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) YAMAZAKIYA GENSHICHI LANTERN STORE OWNER AND CRAFTSMAN NORIO YAMADA, SAYING: "I've been working for 2 months for the Sanja Festival. If the festival gets cancelled, the impact will be very big." YAMADA PAINTING LETTERS ON LANTERN LANTERNS WITH EDO-STYLE BOLD LETTERS RED LANTERNS DISPLAYED ON CEILING (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) YAMAZAKIYA GENSHICHI LANTERN STORE OWNER AND CRAFTSMAN NORIO YAMADA, SAYING: "The business slump has just started. I think people in my industry will start to feel the impact later on. We need to think about the long-term (business impact) and not the short-term. If more events, including the Olympics, are scaled down, Asakusa will be in trouble. I only wish for this to end " VARIOUS OF NEW WHITE LANTERNS EXTERIOR OF LANTERN WORKSHOP TOKYO 2020 FLAGS ON STREETLIGHT POLES/PEDESTRIANS WALKING CHERRY BLOSSOM TREES AT SUMIDA PARK CHERRY BLOSSOMS BRIDGE OVER SUMIDA RIVER
- Keywords: Cherry blossoms Japan Tokyo cancellations coronavirus festivals lantern shop spring viewing parties
- Reuters ID: LVA001C6ET6IV
- Location: TOKYO, JAPAN
- City: TOKYO, JAPAN
- Country: Japan
- Duration: 00:03:41
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine,Editors' Choice
- Story Text: Spring has arrived in Japan and cherry blossoms are brightening the streets of Tokyo.
Millions of Japanese and overseas visitors usually enjoy cherry blossom festivals and viewing parties beneath the pink trees at this time of year. But this year the coronavirus pandemic has put a dampener on the festivities and its not just the revellers who are disappointed.
Traditional lantern store owner Norio Yamada, is worried about his business amid the cancellation of cherry blossom and other festivals due to the outbreak.
Paper lanterns are often used to decorate temples, shrines and streets for festive events and is a major source of income for lantern shops.
"The business slump has just started. I think people in my industry will start to feel the impact later on. We need to think about the long-term (business impact) and not the short-term. If more events, including the Olympics, are scaled down, Asakusa will be in trouble," says Yamada, whose family has been making paper lanterns for more than 300 years in Tokyo.
The eight-generation artisan is currently working on 1,300 handmade lanterns for the "Sanja Festival" a large shinto festival in May which typically draws over a million visitors and is hoping the situation will improve by then.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hinted at the possibility of postponing the Tokyo Games on Monday (March 23).
(Production: Akira Tomoshige, Akiko Okamoto, Angela Johnston)
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