Thursday, June 26, 2008


The first dance in any Iwami Kagura performance is the Shioharae, in which the dancers purify the dance space in readiness for the kami. While there are nowadays performances of kagura put on in public spaces for tourists, the home of kagura is in the shrine, and like many activities it is performed firstly for the kami.

This performance is by the Ichiyama kagura group in their home shrine of Ichiyama Hachimangu. The 4 colors worn by the dancers represent the 4 directions. Above the dancers is the tengai, a canopy of paper streamers. The kami descend through these streamers into the dancers.

Kagura dancers hold various torimono, objects through which the kami pass into the dancers. In this dance the torimono are wands and metal rattles. Other common torimono are fans and swords. The dancers create mandalas with their movements, am influence from esoteric buddhism by way of Shugendo.

The dance lasts about 40 minutes.


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