Showing posts with label kanmai. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kanmai. Show all posts

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Kanmai Masks at Hirakiki Shrine

One of the things I am always on the lookout for in my wanderings in the back country of Japan, are masks. Being a mask-maker myself, though admittedly somewhat lapsed, I look for the unusual and diverse that can inform my own masks.....

At Hirakiki Shrine in the far south of Kagoshima Prefecture I hit paydirt. They had 24 old wooden masks on display. In a back room I also saw a collection of newer masks that the priest let me in to view, but today here are some of the old ones.

I wish I had talked with the priest more, but what I have been able to find out is that the masks were worn for Kanmai, which translates as "god dance"... they don't use the word kagura. There used to be a lot more dances performed, but some still are, in October.

Traditions in this part of Japan were usually somewhat different from mainstream Japan.

I'm sorry I didn't ask about the names of the masks....

Need to get back there and do some research..... one of these days.....

Buy Handmade Masks From Japan

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Iwaishima Kanmai matsuri 2012


Went to one of my favorite matsuris 2 weekends ago, the Kanmai matsuri on the tiny island of Iwaishima in the Inland Sea off the yamaguchi coast. This young lady was one of the group of sanshin players waiting on the quayside to greet the flotilla of boats....


The two long rowboats returned to harbor after going around to the other side of the island to greet and escort the boats oming from Kyushu carrying the priests. The matsuri dates back to the ninth century and commemorates the time the islanders gave shelter to a boat from Kyushu carrying their kami back from the Kyoto area.


I guess there was less than a thousand visitors to the matsuri..... which meant the islands population had tripled for the day. The lone policeman didnt seem to have anything to do. The atmosphere was relaxed, friendly, and good-natured.


The islanders had made it a little more commercial this year. There were T shirts, books, and postcards on sale to raise funds to pay the fine slapped on the islanders for their acts of civil disobedience in interfereing with the workers attempting to survey for the planned nuclear power station a few kilometers away on Kaminoseki.


The matsuri takes place every four years and for the next three days after the marine procession kagura will be performed in a temporary shrine. For such an old, interesting, and fun matsuri why so few visitors? because there is no Shinkansen station nearby.....


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Kannmai Matsuri

This short video was shot 2 weeks ago on the small island of Iwaishima. It shows the beginning of the Kannmai matsuri, as 2 rowboats, accompanied by a flotilla of gaily decorated fishing boats, head out to see to meet 3 boats coming from Kyushu carrying priests.

kannmai 1

The priests are from the village of Imi in Kyushu, and come here every 5 years fro the matsuri.

kannmai 2

The priests boats land on a beach in a bay on the other side of the island and perform a ceremony. In 886 a delegation of villagers were travelling back to Imi from Kyoto and were hit by a bad storm. They took shelter on Iwaishima and in gratitude for the help they received from the people on Iwaishima they performed ceremonies for the local kami, Kojin. This was the start of the Kannmai Matsuri which now occurs every 5 years.

Kannmai 3

After the ceremony the boats form a convoy and head back to the harbor on the other side of the island. I counted more than 30 boats in total.

kannmai 4

At the harbor the villagers wait to greet the priests. The older women play shamisen, the young boys play drums, and there are 4 miko. All the men of the village are on the boats.

There now follows 3 days of kagura performances.

Previous post on Kannmai Matsuri

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Not Harajuku!!

Not Harajuku 1

Harajuku is a neighbourhood of Tokyo renowned for it's young Japanese cosplayers who hang out there. It has become one of the "must see" sights for tourists to Japan. I've never actually been to Harajuku. Never actually been to Tokyo. It is my intention to never visit Tokyo.

Not Harajuku 2

Anyway, it may look like these photos were taken in Harajuku, but in fact they were taken on Iwaijima, a tiny island of 500 souls off the south coast of Yamaguchi. And these boys are not cosplayers, but participants in a sacred ritual that dates back more than 1,100 years!

Not Harajuku 3

They are part of the crew of huge rowing boats that sail out to sea to meet and guide 3 boats that have come from Kyushu, bringing Shinto priests to the island for a week of ceremony and matsuri that occurs every 5 years.

Just got back from a fantastic 2 days there,... took 500 photos,... experienced some wonderful hospitality...... will post more later.....

Another post with video