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Forbidden Trance and Possession


Summer is getting over. Sooner we will have winter kagura period.

The reasons why we perform kagura can be numerous. The principal reason is to connect to the invisible spirits considered as kamis. Hence, the trance and possession were very frequent technique of kagura dancers.

However, soon after Restauration in mid 19th century, these shamanic technics were strictly forbidden by Meiji government under the name of the Emperor.

Nowadays, it is very rare to perform Trance pieces.

Here you have Nuno mai dance by Jinkosha troupe. They say their ancestral gardien god called Kojin is incarnated into the dancer-shaman body thanks to the long white vail.

The sign of possession is dancer's scream. Once the Kojin god is incarnated into dancer's body, they make him sit down and start one another ritual for rice divination. The dancer as Kojin god grabs rice grains in the ray. They count the amount of rice grains he took, and read his intention...


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© 2015 by Akiko Hirai