Nakahima Nanatsumai

Iwaizumi, Iwate

Nakashima Nanatsumai is a form of kagura that began during the age of gods, when the gods descended to Takamagahara with seven tools and danced to dispel the demons and purify the land. This has been told since about 190-200 years ago, during the Bunka and Bunsei eras (between 1804 to 1830). The dance is currently done with roles in a particular order: sakidachi, yachi barai, naginata, tachi, kine, and finally, yumi. The sakidachi role dispels the demons and determines where to go, the yachi barai mows the branches left and right, the naginata mows larger trees and groves, the tachi dispels the surrounding beasts, the kine moves forward by hardening the soil, and finally, the kotori role uses a yumi (bow) to shoot demons that came from up above, and uses a fan to move forward as it dances. There are six types of dances: do-gu tori mai (tool-picking dance), yoko-bane mai (side leap dance), torii-gakari mai (gateway dance), chirashi mai (fierce scatter dance), kumi-chirashi mai (paired chirashi mai), and do-gu osame mai (tool-settling dance).