- Title: JAPAN: Tokyo residents swing to samba beats during a carnival in the city
- Date: 7th September 2008
- Summary: BOY WALKING IN THE CARNIVAL WHILE WAVING A JAPANESE FLAG
- Embargoed: 22nd September 2008 13:00
- Location: Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Lifestyle
- Reuters ID: LVAKBSYAONODJ4AVCGYLYYC89A0
- Story Text: Hundreds of flamboyantly dressed men, women and children strutted along the streets of Tokyo to celebrate the annual Samba festival.
Rio de Janeiro is in winter now and its famous carnival is six months away.
But on the other side of the planet, nearly 5000 Japanese and Brazilians together danced to the rapturous beat of samba on a hot summer weekend in an Asian-flavoured samba carnival.
"Shaking hips to the samba rhythm is just great! We rarely see these things so it's amazing!" Masao Suzuki, a 56 year-old local watching the carnival, told Reuters in excitement.
The usually more demure traditional downtown Tokyo was transformed Saturday (August 30) into a flamboyant carnival, which attracted 500,000 enthusiastic spectators who raved and jived at a beat not commonly heard in this part of town.
"Yeah, they can dance pretty good. They have the smiles, it's the most important. They are smiling and dancing and having a good time!"
said 26 year-old French Brazilian Thibault Massom as he watched the Japanese samba dancers go by.
Another spectator was also impressed with the colorful dancers.
"I really want to join the dancers! I really do!" said Emi Iimura, 25 year-old visitor from Kyoto.
The annual carnival in Asakusa, the traditional heart of Tokyo, dates back to 28 years ago when a local mayor suggested the district need to revitalize itself by starting something new and exotic.
Here, East meets West, and anything goes during the carnival with participants wearing various costumes from Japanese kimono to feathers or skimpy leather thongs.
Dancers paraded down a one-kilometre stretch of road in front of the Sensoji temple in Asakusa, a scenic downtown area. The Latin spectacle has grown to become one of the area's most popular events rivalling more traditional festivals.
"It's really loud and fun!" Yuko Sato told Reuters while she paraded with a stroller.
Marisa Mariamo, a Brazillian immigrant living in Japan, was ready to show her native moves.
"I'm Brazilian so I feel great to be here!" said Mariamo as she jived to the beat.
Japan embraces a large population of Brazilian immigrants, many of whom are of Japanese descent.
Ties between Japan and Brazil can be traced to the history as Brazil celebrated 100 years of Japanese immigration in June 2008.
"It's been 100 years since Japanese immigrated to Brazil and I'm very happy to know that Japanese people love our country and culture,"
Barbosa Sato, a 24 year-old Brazilian living in Japan, told Reuters after the parade. She participated in the carnival in a flashy green costume, which she had brought from home.
The Latin American country also received the largest number of Japanese immigrants in the early 20th century.
Nearly a century later, the offspring of those immigrants are coming back to Japan from Brazil, looking for opportunities in the world's second largest economy. Their population in Japan is now estimated at 300,000.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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