Showing posts with label hiroshima kagura. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hiroshima kagura. Show all posts

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Kawamoto Kagura Competition 2012


Last weekend I went upriver to the Kawamoto Kagura Competition. While I believe that kagura is best appreciated in a shrine, kagura competitions do offer another type of experience.... comfortable seats, good lighting, and a big stage which is more suited for the Hiroshima style of kagura.. Even though it was a secular event, the first dance is always the purification of the space, performed here by a group from Mitani.


Next up was the local Kawamoto group and they performed Akoden, a variation on the wicked fox transformed into a beautiful maiden. Though Kawamoto is in Iwami their group performs Horoshima style, with lots of mask changes etc. This was a rousing dance for the home audience with plenty of stand-up comedy, pantomime, and slapstick....


The Otsuka group from Kitahiroshima then did Rashomon, a dance I dont think Ive seen before that is actually the prequel to the more common Oeyama dance. Fast, furious, but ending with the demons escaping and so setting the scene for Oeyama...


Next up was the simpler 2 man version of Hachiman performed by the Mihara group. Mihara is a little up in the mountains near my village and Yoko works there. She is friends with Mr. Yamaguchi the group leader who dances the Hachiman part. At 70 years of age Mr Yamaguchi is certainly one of the oldest kagura dancers around..... though still spry and athletic.


My own village of Tanijyugo was up next with Jinrin,.... 2 heroes and 2 demons...


There were six more dances after the lunchbreak but I only stayed for one more, Momijigari, another Hiroshima favorite with many mask changes and 4 maidens who transform into demons.....

Kagura competitions have grown in poularity in the past 50 years and do offer the opportunity to see a lot of kagura in an all-day setting rather than the more intimate shrine setting of all-night kagura..... Most towns in Iwami and north Hiroshima now have annual kagura competions. The smaller towns without auditoriums will put them on in school gymnasiums....

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Imbara Obon Matsuri


For Obon we went upriver a little ways to Imbara, part of Kawamoto Town, to check out their matsuri. There was kagura performed by the local kagura group who play in Hiroshima style. First dance was Jimmu, a 4 person dance depicting the final subjugation of the Yamato area by Jimmus invading force.


Next up was a performance of Zeni Daiko, a "dance" using 2 tubes decorated with tassles. Traditionally the tubes are bamboo and strung inside them are old coins, but nowadays plastic is not unusual. The tubes are waved, shaken, tapped on the floor, spun, and flipped from hand to hand in time to the music and provide a percussive accompaniment. The dance seems to be very popular in local villages.


Then some traditional dancing.....


The second kagura dance was one I had not seen before. Yamanba, based on a Noh story is popular with Hiroshima style groups, and I was pleased to see a mask that was new to me.


The "mountain hag" of the story transforms into her evil form...


... and a final battle puts paid to her and her accomplice....


Then there was the Bon Odori itself, and unusually it only lasted about 40 minutes..... other Bon Odoris Ive been to have gone on for hours. Also unusually a few of the villagers wore costumes for the dance....


The finale was a firework display..... not big by city standards, but nice that there were no barriers and huge crowds....

Friday, January 28, 2011

Momiji gari part 2


This is a continuation of an earlier post.

As the heroes lay unconscious in a drunken stupor they are visited by Hachiman, the god of war and the protective deity of samurai. Interestingly in the kagura dance he is referred to as Hachiman Bosatsu, which is his buddhist identity, and as buddhism was mostly purged from Iwami kagura in the early Meiji period, it leads me to believe this is a post-war dance.


Hachiman purifies the heroes and also gives them a sacred sword and so the scene is set for the finale, a wild and frenetic swordfight.


The three demons have new masks and appear in all their fully formed horror.


There is, of course, no doubt as to the outcome. The good guys will win, and the demons will be destroyed.......