Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Month of Little Sleep part 7


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Last saturday the villages of Matsukawa had their matsuris, so we started out in Tsuchi, home to one of the best kagura groups in the area, and the teachers of our own villages kagura group.

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The night opened with a ceremonial dance, Suzu Kagura, bell kagura. I dont remember ever having seen it before, and the two main sources on Iwami Kagura in English dont mention it, but those books were based in Hiroshima and Masuda and so dont know much of the detail of kagura in our area. The name of the bells that are used are kagura suzu.

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Next the kids performed Shiobarai, the dance that purifies the space. Like everything the Tsuchi group does it was tight and fast,,,,,

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Next up, Iwato, and while I find it one of the less interesting dances a few moments in this performance grabbed my attention, like when Tajikarao did some wild leaps in front of the cave.......

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Around midnight we headed down the valley to the Suwa Shrine in the village of Kamikawado,... not so much a village rather a collection of farms strung along a narrow valley. The village doesnt have a kagura group so our villages were performing here...... Iwato, one more time.....

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And one more stop on our way home at the shrine in Ichimura where the dance Yamato Takeru was underway. Ive always found this dance strange because it celebrates the defeat of local leaders by the Yamato, kind of like Native Americans or the Welsh celebrating their subjugation. So deeply has the national identity overidden local, tribal identities....

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