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Nakagawa-machi , Fukuoka Related category:
Being embraced by gods Nakagawa-machi Iwato kagura    

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Entire story: 30 minutes
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Oaza-Yamada, Nakagawa-machi, where this kagura has been handed down for generations, is a region with various legends about the Empress Jingu of Japan. Although the history of the kagura lacks clarity, it has been bequeathed that the kagura dates back to a time when, or after, Kuroda Nagamasa entered Chikuzen after the Battle of Sekigahara. Before the Meiji Restoration (1868), the kagura was performed by Shinto priests but as a result of the abolition of clans and the establishment of prefectures, the kagura was handed down to the parishioners of Yamada-mura by Yoshitsugu Hidanokami and Sakai Izumonokami in 1880. The kagura had a total of 18 mikotowari or repertories and is broadly divided into two general categories: Torimono kagura to pray for the advent of gods and Men kagura which reproduces mythologies. The kagura dances are performed on the night of the Gion Matures festival on July 14 every year, and in particular, in dialogues held with Onimai-arakami, it is said that small children who are embraced by this oni or ogre grow strong, and the site is thronged with many people who carry babies in arms.

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