Battling Back Soma-Nomaoi: The Festival of Samurai Horsemen

In the heat of late July, mounted samurai gallop across the Japanese landscape. Men and horses race through clouds of dust, recreating ancient battles. This isn't a samurai movie. It's a thousand year-old festival in Minamisoma, a small town in northeastern Japan. It's called the Soma-Nomaoi.

Here, people have always kept horses. Children learn horsemanship from an early age. Training usually starts early for the Soma-Nomaoi. But on March 11, 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake hit.
Minamisoma is about 20 to 30 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. More than half of its population can't return to their homes. Many saw their families swept away. Despite these hardships the Soma-Nomaoi was revived in its full glory in 2012.

The program shows how vital this traditional festival is to the people of Minamisoma. Japanese history and culture come to life through a moving story of individuals overcoming the effects of the disaster.