A Guide to The Tohoku University Festival: Part 1

Schools in Japan regularly hold festivals on-campus, and Tohoku University is no different. For the past 70 years, Tohoku University has held its own school festival. This year, the 71st Tohoku University Festival will be held from November 2 to 4 at the Kawauchi-Kita campus. The festival, which is open to the public, draws in large crowds every year. In fact, last year alone, 41,000 people visited the festival. 

The university festival celebrates and showcases the activities of the students. As usual, there will be several exciting activities, such as food and refreshment stalls and booths for children (Ennichi). As always, there are a variety of performances scheduled for the festival, but these performances will be split into two groups. Some will be performed at the main stage while others will be held at the plaza stage. 

Every festival has had its own theme. For example, the 2017 festival had the theme of “recalling the memories of our childhood and celebrating the passions of our youth”. The theme of the 2018 festival was “laugh and bring good fortune”. The theme of the festival this year is “dancing in the mortal life, living in the dreams”. The festival committee has chosen to follow an Edo period vibe as they will decorate the festival with Japanese lanterns. 

Tohoku University festival is no small affair. In 2017, the festival attracted 33,000 visitors and the 3-day festival costed ¥10 million to put on. It was also the first year where an approach towards internationalization took place and English translations for several stalls and general information were made available.

The festival committee itself is an official club at the university and anyone who is interested can join. The 2017 festival leader Ryuhei Notsuke, spoke to The Sentinel in an interview and explained the process. He said, “Anyone who wants to make a change and has a strong feeling for the school can join the club. The selection of the executive committee is random. The leader of the festival is chosen through voting by former members. The leader is always a sophomore and this activity is meant for freshmen and sophomores only.”

With the year-long planning finally taking shape in early November, the university festival is a memory enshrined by the students, their year-long activities and more importantly, the celebration of university life.

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