Re-mooring the tradition of Broome's Shinju Matsuri

Document Type

Journal Article


Charles Sturt University


Faculty of Regional Professional Studies


Regional Professional Studies Deans Office




Kaino, L. (2005). Re-mooring the tradition of Broome’s Shinju Matsuri. Rural Society, 15(2), 165-175. Available here


The paper explores ways in which Broome’s annual festival, Shinju Matsuri has been ‘re-moored’ since it began in 1970. The commercial imperative that has driven this festival since seems set to continue. However, Shinju Matsuri has also nurtured the cultural identity and cultural development of ‘Broome people’, who briefly ‘re-moored’ it in the 1990s and successfully reclaimed its traditional roots.

This paper is partly based on longstanding ties that I have with the Japanese community in Broome and its sister-town, Taiji, in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan.1 I worked in indigenous affairs in Broome in the late 1960s; my former husband was a ‘hard hat’ pearl diver in Broome from 1963 until 1970 and my daughter has worked as a culture pearl technician in both Taiji and Broome.View all notes In 1969 I was an invited guest to the traditional O’Bon, the Hung Seng and the Mederka festivals in Broome; and I have observed Shinju Matsuri, the hybrid version of these festivals, in 1982 and 2004. I have also observed various Buddhist festivals in Taiji and Tokyo in Japan. My methodology for this paper is largely informed by my role as a participantobserver, as a resident and visitor to Broome and Japan from the 1960s until 2004. Local newspapers,2 [Page numbers and full date entries for newspaper clippings were not always recorded. Where this is the case, the article title is cited (Editor).]View all notes newsletters and festival programs, archived by the Broome Historical Society, also provided a rich source of information.





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