Showing posts with label tsunozu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tsunozu. Show all posts

Monday, November 2, 2009

Miko-mai, or Miko Kagura

Today was the matsuri at Tsunozu. Last night was the all night kagura, but I was feeling a bit under the weather so didn't make it, but went there today to catch the mikoshi parade and the Miko mai.

Miko-mai is probably the most common and widely seen form of kagura in Japan, though its rare in my neighborhood. Most of the bigger shrines that have full-time staff and miko will perform it.

Here at Tsunozu the miko are 4 young elementary school girls. First the dance was performed inside the shrine at a ceremony for all the "leaders" of the village and matsuri. Later it was performed outside the shrine for all the assembled villagers.

Tsunozu really takes their matsuri seriously, with all the local kids getting the afternoon off school.

Unfortunately this year, just as the procession was beginning the heavens opened up and we were drenched in a downpour.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tengu Mask


The earliest form of Tengu in Japan was a half-bird half-man creature, the Karasu (crow) Tengu, but the commonest form is the red faced, long nosed version that has come to be associated with yamabushi, the "mountain warriors" of Shugendo. Like all the masks, it is often used to ward off evil spirits. Like all my masks, this one is for sale at a very reasonable price :).

One weekend one year ago 1573

I've only seen the Tengu mask used in one kagura dance, and I've only seen it performed once.

One day on Miyajima 4559

This wonderful carved mask is in the temple on top of the mountain on Miyajima.


Another carved wooden mask, this one was over a metre in height, so obviously not meant to be worn. It seems the mouth is made to move. It was at a shrine in Miyoshi.


The tengu with it's huge nose is an obvious phallic symbol. This was one of a pair of masks guarding a "vagina" rock at a fertility shrine on Mt. daisen.


A tengu leads the procession at Tsunozu Matsuri

Kagura mask index

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tsunozu Otoshi Shrine


Tsunozu's Otoshi shrine is in the old part of the village where a maze of alleys and narrow roads and traditional houses are still maintained. Most villages have old sections like this.

It's matsuri day, so the streets are lined with shimenawa, fresh bamboo, and shrine banners. The shimenawa lining the streets are to protect from evil as the kami will be passing by later in the matsuri procession.


At the shrine the flags are out in celebration of the matsuri, which occurs after the harvest in early November. As well as the main kami, Otoshi, there are secondary shrines to Inari (Otoshi's brother), Omoto, the local land kami, and konpira.


The mikoshi stand ready to be carried through the village later. While I was visiting the shrine the ceremonies were underway to transfer the kami into the mikoshi.


One of the 2 komainu (Korean Lions) flanking the steps up to the shrine. These are a fairly standard modern design.


Mr Kono is the priest of the shrine. He is also responsible for 9 other shrines in the area, but even so his duties do not pay enough to make a living. Buddhist priests have the VERY lucrative funeral business to pay their wages, but other than at major shrines, most Shinto priests must work at a regular job.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Matsuri procession


The annual matsuri for a shrine will usually include a procession. The details differ a little from shrine to shrine, but the format is basically the same. This procession is being led by a Tengu, a kind of forest goblin commonly associated with yamabushi.


Next up is a Shishi, chinese lion. This was the first time I'd seen one in a procession.


The taiko is normally carried suspended from a stout piece of bamboo by 2 men, but this was pulled in a purpose-built taiko cart. I was particularly impressed with the seatbelt that the drummer is wearing.


The children's mikoshi comes next. The kids get half a day off from school for the matsuri.


Next come the larger and heavier mikoshi(s) carried by the village men, and occasionally women. Nowadays, if the village is large and the population dwindled, the mikoshi sometimes are carried by small pick-up truck.


After the mikoshi come the priests and shrine assistants, followed by the Miko who earlier danced for the kami.


Sometimes the mikoshis will stay at different spots around the village so that further ceremonies may take place.

All these photos are from the Tsunozu matsuri held in the local Otoshi shrine in the first few days of November.