Showing posts with label jinrin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jinrin. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Month of Little Sleep part 9


Past midnight and the inevitable Iwato was performed. It is one of my least favorite dances, but the last sequence after Amaterasu has been brought out of the cave and the assembled kami celebrate is performed with gusto by 8-beat groups such as Tanijyugo, and it gets quite frenetic with much leaping about.


Then onto Jinrin with the usual spectacular demons entrance.....


Next up was a rare performance of Benkei & Yoshitsune. Benkei, the legendary and archetypal sohei (warrior monk) is waiting on Gojo bridge in Kyoto to challenge the next samurai who passes. he has done this successfully 99 times. A slight, young Yoshitsune comes along.


Yoshitsune had been trained in swordsmanship by a tengu in the mountains north of kyoto, and his acrobatic skill is too much for Benkei who after being defeated becomes Yoshitsunes lifelong loyal vassal.... a very similar story to Robin Hood and Little John....


next dance was Tenjin, the first time I had seen the dance this season. Sugawara Michizane, the hero,, deified as Tenjin, wears a mask uncannily like the Guy Fawkes mask in V for Vendetta, takes on his arch-enemy Fujiwara no Tokihira.


It was 2:30am, still 4 more hours of kagura to go, but I left to grab some sleep as the next day there was an all night Omoto Matsuri up in the mountains and I wanted to stay all night for that....

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Month of Little Sleep part 3


Sunday night was matsuri downriver in Kawahira, a village I always enjoy visiting because of the friendliness and genrosity of the villagers....


The hachiman dance was in full swing as we arrived around 11pm. Unusually, Hachiman and his aide were being danced by two young women. Girls and women dancing kagura is unusual. A few groups have started to allow girls to dance, but it is not the norm.


Even more unusual was the fact that these two young women were not from the village, they were not even from the area. They are students at the university up in Matsue and for the past year they have been making the 2 hour drive once a week to come down and practise in the village. They danced well and the villagers were very appreciative of their help in maintaining the traditions....


Next dance was Suzukuyama, a classic battle between the good guys and the demon.


Past midnight and the next generation of dancers and fans are still keeping up.....


Next was Yasogami, and extra long dance because of the stand-up routines and pantomime and slapstick. In this scene one of the brothers attempts to woo, unsuccessfully, the princess....


1:30am and Jinrin starts up....

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Month of Little Sleep part 2


Walking back from the matsuri at Ichiyama we stopped in at the matsuri at Kaewado. We got there about 3am.


The kenmai dance has just started....


Followed by a different version of Kakko.....


And then a really good version of Jinrin.....


The finale was Kurozuka with the demonic white fox.....

and the sky was lightening and time to wander home across the river....

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....

Monday, June 13, 2011

Kagura Interlude


Got the chance to see a little Iwami kagura when we were at the Shunki Taisa down in Tsuwano a few weeks ago. A group from Masuda were performing, and as I had never seen any kagura from this area I stopped in while Jinrin was being performed. This is Takamaru the aide to Tarashinakatsuhiko, the name of the "emperor" known posthumously as Chuai. They are the good guys.


The bad guys are a horde of demonic invaders from a "foreign" country led by Jinrin. In this dance there were just 2 demons, this one is not Jinrin.


A furious and frenetic battle ensues.....


Until evil is defeated by the good guys....


The next dance was Kakko, and he wore a style of mask I hadnt seen before.....

Sunday, November 8, 2009

October means Matsuri. Matsuri means Kagura. Part 8


The eighth matsuri we visited in our October Matsuri marathon was our own village's matsuri. The shrine was packed when we arrived, and stayed packed all night. A large chunk of the audience was composed of young people, especially young women. It seems the Tanijyugo group has grown in popularity and now has many fans from outside the village.


The kids did a great version of Jinrin, and showed the same dedication and professionalism as the rest of the group.


In the Kurozuka dance the leader of the group played the priest. Buddhist priests appear in many of the dances, though nowadays kagura is classified as "shinto", historically it has a lot of buddhist influence, not just in the stories, but in the mandalas that compose much of the dance movements.


The evil kitsune appears first in the form of a beautiful maiden. All the female parts in kagura are played by males, but the hands often give away the gender of the dancer.

At one point the hapless priests assistant climbs up into the tengai and the fox follows and they fight suspended above the floor. This is unique to Tanijyugo group, and a specially strenghtened tengai held up by chains is used.


3 a.m. and the orchestra shows signs of flagging :)


This was the first time I saw our group perform Yasogami, with Okuninushi's 80 brothers represented by 2 fools.

In this part of the dance Okuninushi and his brothers perform a dance that is normally done using swords and when done properly is quite exciting and complex. here though the bumbling brothers make a mess of it.