Showing posts with label kakko. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kakko. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Autumn Matsuri 2014 part 2


When we arrived at the shrine at 10:30 the Shioharae was in progress. This is usually the second dance of the night and purifies the dance area for the rest of the nights performances. It is a shinji, a ceremonial dance as opposed to a theatrical dance. There was a TV crew from Tokyo filming the visiting American "dancer" and I found the performance of the audience a little disconcerting.


Next up was Yumi Hachiman, a 2 man dance featuring the hero Hachiman, the patron kami of the shrine, defeating a demon.


It is a standard fighting dance where good triumphs over evil and featuring a spectacular smoke and firework entrance of the demon.


Our local kagura troupe are really good. They are all amateurs, but their performances are always tight and professional. The next dance was Kakko-Kirime. The first part involves Kakko, somewhat of a fool, who steals a sacred drum from a shrine and attempts, unsuccessfully  to activate it. I like the dance because it allows the dancer to incorporate a lot of his own moves and sequences. In the second half of the dancer the kami Kirime descends and teaches kakko the correct way.


I left then, past midnight. There was to be 6 more hours of dancing, but I was feeling out of sorts and I needed to be fresh for the final part of the matsuri, a series of ceremonies tomorrow morning followed by the carrying of the mikoshi.....

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....

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Month of Little Sleep part 1


For me, the month of October has to be "The Month Of Little Sleep". In our area the rice has been harvested and now it is time for matsuri, and around here matsuri means all night kagura. Every village has their own matsuri and there are some I try to visit every year as well as many I have not had time to visit yet.... the first for me this year was saturday night in Ichiyama...


Got there around 10pm and the Iwato dance was just starting....


Next dance was Hachiman with the almost obligatory demon/hero battle.... I keep rooting for the demons but they never win.....


Next up was a ceremonial dance, Kenmai, which means "sword dance" but involved no swords. It was seperated from the sword part of the dance which is performed at Omoto Kagura.....


Next up was Jimmu, a dance based on the exploits of the mythical first emperor of Japan who subjugated the various clans and tribes of Western Japan in his invasion from Kyushu to kansai....


Next up was Kakko, a dance about a comedic figure who steals a sacred drum and attempts to unlock its power.....

Around 2:30am,  we took our leave of the good folks in Ichiyama and started to walk towards home...

More information about these dances, including videos, can be found by clicking on the labels of this post...

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, October 24, 2010


After watching a few dances up at the matsuri in Kanzui, it was time to head back to our own matsuri in Tanijyugo.

The Kakko dance had just started. In this video we see the main character attempt to summon the god Kirime by finding the correct location to place the sacred drum. Not being knowledgeable about such things he is unsuccesful and his dance veers towards a comical jig.

Next up was Yasogami, a tale about Okuninushi, the hero, and his 80 brothers. In this first scene the 80 brothers, represented by 2 of them, attempt to kill Okuninushi but end up beating themselves up. Sections of the dance descend into comedy and pantomime.

The end of the Yasogami dance is the traditional swordfight wherein Okuninushi dispatches the brothers in succession.

Next up was Hachiman, the kami of the local shrine. In our groups version Hachiman has an aide and they fight 2 demons. Being the god of archery, Hachiman hills the demons with arrows rather than swords.

Around 3am the Ebisu dance was performed, but in this instance 2 Ebisus danced. Like all kagura dances it lasted 45 minutes and has many different sections and these 2 little boys did amazingly well. The most important part of the Ebisu dance is when he throws out lucky candy to the audience.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Kagura season is in full swing!

This is a scene from the Kakko-Kirime dance performed last night at the shrine in Kawado.


In the opening part of the dance an inept priest bumbles and fumbles his way around the stage in an attempt to find the correct spot to place a drum for a sacred ceremony. I saw this dance performed by 2 different dancers last night, and though both dances differed they both stressed the comedic element.


It's October, the rice has been harvested, and until the middle of November it is now Kagura season in the Iwami area. Every village will be holding it's annual matsuri, and here in Iwami that means all night kagura performances. Some places have a Kagura-den, a seperate building like an outdoor stage specifically for kagura, but most places round here perform it in the Haiden, the main hall of the shrine.

Last night we had the choice of 6 different shrines less than ten minutes drive away that were having all-night kagura. If we wanted to drive 20 minutes the number increases to 20 or so. I like to visit different shrines and see how the different groups interpret the dances, and there are still plenty of dances I haven't see yet.

The photo above is the Ichiyama shrine, where we went first. One of my friends is a kagura dancer there, so we've been often, but still I saw a dance that I hadn't seen before. For everyone attending there was also free food... piping hot bowls of oden, uden, and later onigiri.


The next shrine we stopped at was in Kawado. There will usually be a bonfire going all night at the matsuri,... something the kids like to play with and around. This is one of the few nights of the year when kids are allowed to stay up all night, though many crash out at some point only to wake up for the finale at dawn, the Yamata No Orochi dance.


If you've never seen Iwami kagura, then you've missed one of the most exciting of all Japan's traditional performing arts, and if you've never been to an all-night village matsuri, then you haven't experienced what I consider to be one of the defining experiences of life in Japan.