Regional Cultural Asset Portal

Shimada City , Shizuoka Related category:
Shizuoka Prefectures Designated Folk Cultural Property Saru-mai (monkey dance)    

Digest: 3 minutes
Entire story: 29 minutes
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This video is a film chronicle which summarizes the scene of Saru-mai (monkey dance) from the preparation, which is performed during the regular festival of Tokoji Hiyoshi Shrine, Shimada City, Shizuoka Prefecture on April 14 every year.

It is recorded that Saru-mai (monkey dance) of Tokoji Hiyoshi Shrine was danced during the period from 1688 to 1703, with a history of more than 300 years. In addition, a dance similar to Saru-mai is stipulated as Saru-gaku (a medieval Noh farce) of Hiyoshi Shrine of Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture in Taiheiki, a war chronicle of the Period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties (1336-1392), suggesting that Saru-mai originates from Saru-gaku. At present, there are more than 3000 Hiyoshi Shrines throughout Japan but no other shrine has more tradition of Saru-mai than Tokoji Hiyoshi Shrine, which is regarded as precious.

Two boys aged 8 to 12 of the Tokoji region dance while dressed as two male and female monkeys. The monkeys are considered to be divine messengers of Hiyoshi Shrine and the dance effectively expresses their lovely humorous behavior.

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