FIELDWORKS

 

This page is for now under construction.

SUGISAWA HIYAMA
Yuza, Yamagata

Every 6, 15, 20 August. 

 

I got know this kagura by a book when I was looking for one troupe that I can work with for my Bachelor dissertation.

Sugisawa Hiyama is name of dance performed during local Bon festival at Shinto shrine.

This is transmitted by habitants of very small village named Sugisawa at Yuza town, Yamagata in Northwest Japan. 

Although this dance is performed at local Bon festival (Buddhism) at Shinto shrine, historically it is practiced by Shugendo priests. After Meiji Restauration, villagers started to perform the dance. 

Its characteristic is at the pieces of warriors. While young men dressing up as warrior dance on the stage, singers recite the story. 

The highlights is when the last dancer do handstands and go circuit of the stage three times. It is said that his success implied good harvest of the year. 

 

More information at website of Yuza town (in Japanese)

 

SHISHIMAI (LION DANCE)
Yamura, Yamanashi

Every first Sunday of August.

The lion dance is very commun style of Shinto dance. Every first Sunday of August, it is held the annual ceremony at Kanayama shrine.  

It is said that this dance was transmitted to villagers by a travelling dance troupe during the Edo era. 

The troupe is consisted by both female and male members from high school students to around their 50s.

The dance is performed several times during annual local festival. Even the lion dance visits to habitants' home to bless baby born, new construction of one's house etc. 

OIWAKE NINGYO (Bunraku puppet theatre)
Sasago, Yamanashi

Oiwake Ningyô is the named of Bunraku pappett theatre transmitted in small village on the path of the mountain in Yamanashi. 

 

This is precisely not kagura dance but it is also classidied as minzoku geinô. MInzoku geinô is so-calld folkloric performing arts. 

This is transmitted by a father and a son who came from south Japan during the Edo era. 

They gave some puppets to villagers. 

More information at Oiwake Ningyp Association's website.  

Awaodori Love-Hei-Ren
Otsuki, Yamanashi

Every first Saturday of August 

The Love-Hei-Ren founded by local marchants.

The local festival named Kagaribi-matsuri is held every August. It is not religious one but for local activities. 

The Awa-odori (dance of Awa) originally is danced at the Awa religon (nowadays Hiroshima prefecture) and now it is widely transmitted.

Japanese religion is characterized by ancestor worship. They consider that their ancestors' souls come back to their house during Bon period. (Normally from 13rd August evening to morning 15 August). 

To welcome their ancestors, people entertain with dance and music. 

Oppositely, the Kagaribi festival is for fun of habitants and for marchants. 

More information at website of Otsuki city (in Japanese)

 

Shishi-mai (Lion dance)
Shirano, Yamanashi

Every first Saturday of August Every September (the date must be verified). 

The Lion dance was transmitted to Yamanashi prefecture during Edo period (between 17th century to mid 19th century) by troupes from Edo (Tokyo). 

Habitants of Shirano village have transmitted the Lion-dance for their local deity (for local shrine). 

They have a lion mask which is considered as female (sometimes they put flower decoration on this mask).

They still practice five pieces in which one has text. 

More information at website of Otsuki city (in Japanese)

 

Odaidai 
Fuji-Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi

Mt. Fuji is the highest mountain of Japan. People consider that the eruption of the volcan is deity's anger. Worshipers try to please their deities with dance and music. 

The Odaidai is a ritual which is held every 28th July at Kawaguchi-Sengen-Jinja shrine. (Sengen is another way to read two Chinese characters which represent the deity of volcan: Asama). 

It is said that this shrine is constructed at the beginning of 9th century by Daigo Emperor's order to calm volcan deity after the big eruption of Mt. Fuji. (It is doubtful and need to verify...)

This village is one of sacred site for Mt. Fuji worshipers during Edo period. Habitants has special permission of the Great Shrine at Ise to guide visitors of Mt. Fuji. 

This dance is originally transmitted by young priestess from permitted family, now it is transmitted by girls from local families. 

We have to add that this dance is considered as SECRET technique. Although all visitors can see the dances, certain habitants still want it to be hidden. We respect this tradition and not to put dancers picture on this site. Thank you for understanding.

More information at website of Yamanashi kanko net (in Japanese)

Summer festival, Ikutama-jinja shrine
Osaka, Osaka

Every August

The Ikutama-jinja shrine is one of three biggest summer (religious) festival of Osaka.

Its summer festival is held every August (the date must be verified each year). You can enjoy typical matsuri martkets such as foods, balloons, masks, etc and also portables shrines with music by percussions.

There are several portables shrines in which worshipers (local people) riding on, while hitting traditional percussions (taiko). 

Worshipers play powerful performance with portable shrines and music. We can even say that they are sometimes agressive. It is said that this festival was begin against contagious sickness. 

More information at website of Ikutama-jinja (in Japanese)

Tano 12 kagura, Tano, Yamanashi

Every 2nd Saturday of January 

Dondo-yaki is one of annual events held around January 15th. Once New-Year-period is over (January 1-15), people burn bonfire at the riverside at the border of their community. It is for burning their New Year's decorations, and also to wish their health throughout coming one year. They prepare special rice cake attached to the branch, put them into the fire. They say that it brings you the health.

At the same time, the people of their Yaku-doshi age threw rice cakes, snacks, fruits, sometime even money, participants pick them up. Distributed foods are considered as sacred foods of their gardien gods, it brings you good health.  

12 pieces of Kagura danses are performed at the small community house secretly. Before modernisation, this village in the deep mountain was on the route of old Koshu kaido, one of five routes connecting to Edo city. 

It is considered that this kagura dance was transmitted to this village during Edo period as another village nearby. Practiced only by men.

 

 

Little more information at website of Yamanashi kanko net: http://www.yamanashi-kankou.jp/kankou/spot/p1_4249.html

© 2015 by Akiko Hirai