Sunday, November 15, 2009

Shamanic dance in Japan

Shamanic dance in Japan

From 6:30p.m. yesterday evening until 5:30a.m. this morning I visited the Omoto kagura Matsuri in the village of Eno.

Had a fantastic and exhilarating time thanks to the hospitality and effort of the villagers and dancers,... lots of free delicious food and sake!, and some great dances.

At some point I will post in more detail about the rituals and dances, but for now a few videos of the shamanic elements of the night.

A little after midnight a young villager gave a stellar performance of the Mat dance, Gozamai. The congregation/audience showed their appreciation at the finale for a great effort of an athletic dance.

Around 1a.m. was the Tengai dance. It still remains my favorite of all the Omoto dances. Unusually it was kagura dancers who pulled the strings, not priests.

Around 4a.m. Omotosan, in his form as the rope snake, was taken down from the altar and the priests and dancers performed the Tsunanuki, the Rope Pulling dance.

Following Tsunanuki, Omotosan is suspened from the Tengai canopy, and the final dance in the shamanic portion of the festival took place. Jyojyu is the dance wherein possession is most likely to occur. This year Omotosan chose not to speak.


  1. Thank you for sharing this.
    Absolutely wonderful.

  2. Thats trully amazing! You can write a book about these experiences.

    How come you were invited for such event as foreigner ? Do you personally know some of the priests ?

  3. Hey Mountaincat.... I do know the local priests, but no invite is needed.... its just a local matsuri.