Representing the autumnal atmosphere of Akita within Foujita’s magnum opus is the Hie-Hachiman Shrine’s Sanno Festival. He attended the Festival in September of 1936, and the mural depicts women performing the “Akita Ondo” on stage. “Akita Ondo” is a beloved folk song and dance performed at festivals where people dance to a rhythm while improvising a funny and rather strange song. When performing, locals often sing about Akita prefectural specialties and famous places, among other things. Though the Akita Ondo is no longer performed in modern times, it remains a dearly beloved tune for Akita Prefecture locals.
The Sanno Festival Foujita attended was a long-anticipated affair, full of stalls and bursting with song and dance. However, in 1937, a year which Foujita spent abroad, the war between Japan and China expanded. The Festival’s scope was reduced, and its performances were abolished. Foujita’s depiction shows the last time it would ever be so lively and grand.
Currently, the Hie-Hachiman Shrine holds a spring festival exclusively for Shinto rituals, and an autumn festival which takes place on the weekend of September 15th. This one lasts for two days, and carries on the lively spirit of old.