Saturday, October 10, 2009

October means Matsuri. Matsuri means Kagura. Part 2

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For our next matsuri we headed up into the mountains to Mizuho, near the border with Hiroshima. Sekai Daijingu is a "New Religion", an offshoot of Omottokyo, and the head shrine is here in Iwami.

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I don't know a lot about this religion, but one of the priests spent an hour chatting with me and the 2 points he stressed were that the kami worshipped are the "old" kami of Japan, the Sun, Moon, and Earth, and he stressed a disassociation from Shinto which he considered a version of the State Shinto which he linked strongly to the war.

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Unlike a usual matsuri, here there were many groups each dancing once. The first up was Miho Kagura Dan, from northern Hiroshima. Hiroshima Kagura developed out of Iwami Kagura, but the costumes are a little different, and for the "good guys" Hiroshima Kagura doesnt use masks but make-up.

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The dance they performed was Akko Den, another name for Kurozuka, a famous story taken from the Noh repertoire.

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Its a popular dance especially among kids as it involves an evil white fox that devours people.

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The dance involves several mask and costume changes as the fox transforms from its human form as a beautiful woman into its true form.



Before the kagura began there was a performance of a Taiko group from Oda.

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