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  • Akiko

Lion Dance of Shirano in Yamanashi 1

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

Every first Saturday of August, the festival named Kagaribi matsuri is held in Otsuki city in Yamanashi. This festival is an event held for touristic purpose. In Japan, there are numerous unknown folkloric perfortming arts are still transmitted. Citizens perfom their dance, theater, or street performances during this festival. As for Sasago, the ares at west side of the city, there were two lion dance troups.

The city of Otsuki is aboud 90km from Tokyo. Shirano district is located the westside of the city. During Edo period (1600-1868), Shirano was a post station of the route Kōshūkaidō which is one of Edo five route. It facilinated the transregional movements of people, between Yamanashi and the capital. Therefore, so many dances had been transmitted during this period.

In Yamanashi, two big types of kagura are transmitted; the school of Iseryū kagura, and the lion dance. The latter is popular especially the east side of Yamanashi prefecture, including Otsuki city.

The lion dance of Shirano district is one example. According to Mr. Amano, the chief of the troupe, their dance is also transmitted during Edo period. They lost the dance transmission in the 1970s because of the lack of the young generation. However, Mr. Amano and his friends revived it later in the 2000s. Now their lion dance are performed for annual ceremony of local Shintō shrine.

Here is the cute lion mask decorated by the pink paper flower. This mask is considered female. This lioness is coupled with another lion mask, which was used in the neighbor district for another shrine's annual ceremony.

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