Regional Cultural Asset Portal

Koga City , Ibaraki
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Sasara of Onanuma    

Digest: 3 minutes
Entire story: 27 minutes
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The Sasara (Shishimai or lion dance) of Onanuma is performed every year in the precincts of the Katori Shrine on the occasion of its autumn celebration held in the middle of November. Onanumas Shishimai is a Furyu Shishimai (i.e. a lion is impersonated by a single dancer with lion headgear on) where three lions, named Tayujishi, Mejishi, and Atojishi, dance together. Clad in indigo over-garments, Hakama trousers and straw sandals, they put on a lion headgear and dance, beating a small drum hung at the waist. In the precincts, Manto (candles dedicated to the gods) are set up and flute players and dancers with Hanagasa hats join in. The legend goes that they were permitted to wear Hakama and straw sandals because they performed a brilliant dance on the occasion of leveling the ground for the construction of the Nikko Toshogu Shrine in 1634. The performance of the dances was neglected during the war, but was revived and has been preserved and handed down through the efforts of the Onanuma Sasara Preservation Society. There are 12 acts, including the Hiraniwa and Hebikagari. However, only 10 acts are performed presently. They have been designated Intangible Folk Cultural Properties by Koga City.

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