Saturday, August 14, 2010

Witchcraft in Kyoto,

Went to watch some kagura last night and was very excited to see a dance I had never seen before. The Kifune dance tells the story of a Kyoto wife whose husband has left her and she visits the Kifune (Kibune) shrine north of Kyoto to seek help getting revenge.

At the shrine she is given instructions as to how to transform into a demoness and then be able to curse her ex husband. Just to remind you, the female parts in Iwami Kagura are played by males. I thought this guy did an excellent job.

The dance is based on a Noh drama called Kanawa (the headress she is wearing with three lighted candles on it) and it is based on a tale in the Heike Monogatari about events in the eigth Century.

The next part of the dance concernes the afflicted husband who visits Japans most famous wizard Abe no Seimei for help ridding himself of the curse. This part of the dance is played as pantomime and one of the tools used by Abe no Seimei is a vuvuzela!!

This is now a rare dance as it was banned in early Meiji as the subject matter of witchery and magic was considered "superstitious" and primitive. Teaching that the Emperor was descended from the sun, on the other hand, was the basis of the new State Shinto.


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