Saturday, October 17, 2009
After Ichiyama matsuri we stopped in at Kawado, the village just across the river from mine, for the last matsuri of the night.
I've watched hundreds of kagura dances, and yet am still learning something new almost everytime I see a dance. Every village has developed their own variations on the dances and stories, and I suppose I have also become more knowledgable about details.
The last dance we watched was Shoki, a 2 person dance with Shoki and a single demon.
Shoki was a "demon-quelling" Chinese God who has become equated with Susano in Japan. The Susano and Shoki masks are interchangeable, though here at Kawado Shoki did not where a mask at all.
I learned an interesting thing about Kawado's version of Shoki. The person chosen to play Shoki is not set. It is chosen each year by the group depending on whoever has had good fortune that year. Usually that means someone who has gotten married or had a child. This years dancer had recently celebrated the birth of his fourth child.
In this video there is something I hadn't seen before. After the demon has pranced about the stage, Shoki climbs up and starts shaking the tengai over the demon. The tengai is the canopy over the kagura stage, and the kami descend through the paper streamers to possess the dancers.