Miyako Folk Performing Arts Festival Feb.5th(Sun),2023
Miyako Civic Cultural Hall, Main Hall
Free of charge
The Miyako city covers the Kitagami mountain range and the Sanriku coast- with mountains, with oceans, the city is simply home to plenty of folk performing arts. For instance, the local kagura, the Shinto ritual dance, reveals the power of the gods called “Gongen” and the performance of the dance in the New Year period is regarded as delivery of blessings to people- fire prevention, good health for the year, bountiful harvests, and large catches. During the Obon period (in mid-summer), Shishiodori dance and Nembutsu Kenbu sword dances are performed as dedication to the dead and ancestors of the local community. On the other hand, the Sansa Odori, originated in Morioka, was spread to the coast and commonly performed nowadays. Nanatsumono is a performing art unique to the Sanriku coast as a deviated stream of kagura. These performing arts are all elegant, dynamic, and full of energy.
This time, besides Kuromori Kagura, we also have Same Kagura from the Hachinohe City as our special guest presenting spectacular traditional arts in Aomori and Iwate prefectures.
Same Kagura (Hachinohe City)
It is a kagura that has been passed down in this region once prospered as a port of the Hachinohe clan. Carpenters and fishermen have passed down the traditions while preserving the old rites, and kabuki dances called kabukimono have been performed as a form entertainment. The highlight of Tsurugi-mai is the acrobatic steps using a sword.
Organized by｜Miyako City Local Performing Arts Committee Alliance,
NPO Iwate Arts Support Center
Co-organized by｜Sanriku International Arts Committee
Miyako Civic Cultural Hall, Main Hall
At the festival of Konuma Shrine in Taro Settai, the dance is performed to pray for bountiful harvest, good health, and prosperity in the region. Dancers with seven different kinds of props dance in harmony, fitting in each other.
Ushifushi Nenbutsu Kenbai
In 1190, Chinzei Hachiro Tametomo’s third son, Minamoto no Tameyori, was granted his territory in Hei and Kesen by Minamoto no Yoritomo, the first shogun of the Kamakura shogunate. He built a castle in Nejo, Roki, and took on the name of Hei Yorimoto.
Yorimoto built Kegon-in temple in dedication to the soul of his father, where he had 27 soldiers dance for the souls of ancestors and of the Minamoto clan and also of its rival Taira clan killed in the war. This is believed to be the origin of the Ushifushi Kembai.
During the annual Bon Festival in August, the dancers go around houses in the area to appease the souls of ancestors and the recently departed. On the 16th, it ritually performs its kembai and nanatsu-odori (seven-item dance) at the Kegon-in temple in Kebaraichi to pray for the dead.
Same Kagura has a history of more than 200 years according to the records, and there is a script written in the Kaei era (1848-1855). In addition to the 18 pieces of yamabushi kagura (mountain hermit’s kagura), there are 14 pieces of kumi-mai (ensemble dance) including the Kabuki-inspired Ataka no Seki Kanjincho , and Hakajishi (Grave Lion Dance). The 18 pieces were performed over two days at the National Theatre in 1968. They also performed at the National Theatre for the second time in 1994. As a group of enthusiasts who do not belong to any particular shrine, Same Kagura has been facing a succession problem. However, it has been gaining momentum in recent years thanks to the annual succession training classes for elementary, junior high and high school students that have been held since 1971, as well as exchanges with outside artists.
Kuromori Kagura is originated from the Kuromori Shrine located in Yamaguchi 8! Miyako City. On New Year’s Day, participating residents go around the villages along the Rikuchu coast for prayers carrying a ‘Gongen’ (lion head) symbolizing the divine spirit of the Kuromori Shrine. At night, kagura tents are put up on the tatami mats of selected residence as the accommodation for the dancers. Evening kagura are performed as the prayer for bountiful harvest, big catch, and world peace.
The procession takes place every other year along the coast of the former Morioka clan, going north from Yamaguchi to Kuji City known as the “Northern Tour”. The team also march to the south (Kamaishi City) and the rouge is commonly known as the “Southern Tour”. All these routes remain unchanged until early modern times.
Such a historic Kagura covering such a large geographical area is extremely rare though the country. Since the tradition still well preserved, it was designated as a national important intangible folk cultural asset in March 2006.
Sanriku International Arts Festival 2022 REVIVE
– An FY 2022 Japan Cultural Expo Project Presented and Co-presented by Japan Arts Council and Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan
Organized by｜Sanriku International Arts Committee, Japan Arts Council, and Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan
Co-organized by｜Hachinohe City, Hashikami Town, Hirono Town, Kuji City, Noda Village, Fudai Village, Tanohata Village, Iwaizumi Town, Miyako City, Yamada Town, Otsuchi Town, Kamaishi City, Ofunato City, Rikuzentakata City, Sumita Town, Sanriku Railway Co., Ltd., Japan Folk Performing Arts Association, NPO Iwate Arts Support Center, and NPO Japan Contemporary Dance Network
Cooperated by｜NPO Shinsai Regain, imajimu LLC, Tohoku Cultural Property Video Research Institute, Minna no Shirushi LLC