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Hakata Dontaku

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Hakata Dontaku

Hakata Dontaku Minato Matsuri

Hakata Dontaku, or “Hakata Dontaku Minato Matsuri” (Hakata Dontaku Port Festival) as it’s officially known, is an annual festival that takes place in Fukuoka City on May 3rd and 4th each year. It is a festival steeped in tradition, with its roots dating back some 830 years.
The word “Dontaku” is derived from the Dutch word “zondag” (meaning “Sunday”) and was used to mean “holiday” or “day off” in Japanese, but today the term is obsolete.
The event began in 1179 as a New Year performance known as “Matsubayashi” and was developed by the merchants of Hakata to become an event to unite the people of Hakata and Fukuoka.

In 1872 the Meiji government banned the “Matsubayashi” festival but it restarted again seven years later in 1879 under the new name, “Hakata Dontaku.” The festival was cancelled once more during WWII but was revived soon after in 1946 to rejuvenate the town and bring it back to life.
In 1962 “Dontaku” became a parade for the citizens of Fukuoka and was officially renamed “Hakata Dontaku Minato Matsuri” (Hakata Dontaku Port Festival) – a festival that today boasts the greatest number of spectators in all of Japan.
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