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Annaka City , Gunma
(Matsuida-machi)
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Shishimai or lion dance of Matsuida, village of mountain pass    



Digest: 3 minutes
Entire story: 59 minutes
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Matsuida-machi, Annaka City, which is located in the southern part of Gunma Prefecture and at the prefectural boundary with Nagano Prefecture and has the Usui Pass developed as an important traffic place from old times, flourished as a post station of the Nakasendo of the Edo period.

The shishimai or lion dance handed down to Matsuida-machi is preserved by seven organizations that currently play an active role. In this video film, Arai shishimai (Takamori Keiun school) based in Suwa Shrine and Kamimasuda shishimai (Mikuni Hogan school) based in Yasaka Shrine are introduced. Both shishimai or lion dances are featured by a stand-alone lion in which one person takes charge of one lion body, and three lions and one otoka (fox deity) come onto the stage. Arai shishimai is characterized by its valiance, while Kamimasuda shishimai is said to be neat and clean as well as elegant. This video film includes the performance at Usui Pass Kumano Shrine, one of the shrines representing Matsuida-machi. Usui Pass Kumano Shrine is located in the vicinity of the summit of Usui Pass, the most dangerous path in Nakasendo, at the prefectural boundary between Gunma Prefecture and Nagano Prefecture.

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