Japan has a folk culture where many festivals and annual events are held throughout the seasons, featuring traditional arts such as Shinto music and dancing and the lion dance. Among them, Akita, a prefecture that cherishes its traditions, features 17 nationally designated Intangible Folk Cultural Properties, the most in Japan. One such event in Akita is the "Namahage", an event that celebrates the end of the year and welcomes the coming year. Patrons dress up as the "Namahage", wearing clothes made from straw and long boots, putting on an ogre mask, and brandishing a large knife. They are joy-bringing spirits, bringing good health and good harvests, who circle the neighborhood while asking loudly if there are any crying children. The bold shouts of the Namahage and the high-pitched wails of the children pierce the winter's night sky. In the summer the people of Akita enjoy the Kanto Festival, one of the three major festivals in the Tohoku Region. "Kanto" are many paper lanterns hung from a long pole. Kanto can reach a length of 12m, feature 46 lanterns, and weigh 50kg. These huge paper lantern poles, resembling ears of rice, light up the Akita summer nights. The people of Akita's love for their region and their wishes for happiness have kept various traditional folk cultures alive to this day.