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Street Promotion

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Japanese street performer "Chindonya" Hisashi Nagata, center in kimono, beats his drum and bell as his music troupe marches through A shopping street in Tokyo's Shinjuku shopping district. Chindonya is a traditional Japanese band that marches through streets while performing musical instruments to advertise sales of local shops, the opening of restaurants and other promotions.

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Chindon-ya used to be a cottage industry in the post-war (Showa period) Japan when I was a very small kid. The drums, clarinet, bells and cymbals, and occasionally accordions made up the usual musical arsenals.

The Chindon-ya street performers and ubiquitous "ad balloons" that flew in the Tokyo skies were among the most popular means of mass communication when televisions were only found in more well-to-do households.

Harkens back to those simple and innocent days decades before the advent of the Internet.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Yes, "Chindonya" really takes me back to the good old days of 昭和(Showa) when I was a little kid. It also reminds me of the old, familiar 紙芝居 (picture-card show). Very nostalgic!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The first time I saw a line of Chindonya players filing through a market in Kyoto about 45 years ago, I was struck how bright and cheerful they were as they jangled and danced.

My J wife muttered that they were out-of-date already, and as I stood there in silent wonder, I noticed that none of the shoppers were giving them a second glance. Tears started rolling uncontrollably down my cheeks.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Later I learned the childhood taunt, "Aho baka chindonya, omae no kaasan debeso!" 「あほバカチンドン屋、お前の母さん出べそ。」"Idiot, fool, chindonya, your momma has an outie", and realized just how much they were looked down upon.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

street performer = unemployed

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Wonderful stuff and something that will brighten up anyone's day. Street perfomers are often the life and breath of big cities. Something to cherish.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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