Regional Cultural Asset Portal

Aizu-Wakamatsu City , Fukushima Related category:
Aizu Sambiki Shishimai (Dance of Three Lions of Aizu)    

Digest: 3 minutes
Entire story: 11 minutes
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Aizu Sambiki Shishimai (dance of three lions of Aizu) is a lion dance performed to the accompaniment of kakko (a small hourglass drum struck with two wooden sticks) while praying for the welfare of the household, for productivity of grain, and for the commemoration of a familys ancestors in the garden of each home in the spring equinoctial week, and it is said that Aizu people feel the advent of spring with the sound of the accompaniment of Higan-jishi (the Lion of the Equinoctial Week). One shishimai dancer group is composed of three lions: the Tayu lion (male), a female lion, and a male lion, and one heimai-kozo (a small boy with a sacred staff with cut paper), and the shishimai lion dances of the three regions of Aizu-Wakamatsu City, namely Tennei, Shimoiawase, and Hontakizawa, are designated as Aizu-Wakamatsu City important intangible folk cultural assets.

Stories of the origin vary, but locally, legend has it that about 300 years before now, a plague struck the entire Aizu district, resulting in a catastrophe with an unknown number of casualties, whereupon the people dedicated shishimai to the main Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines to pray to the gods for persons recovery, since when people gradually regained their normal state. The event coincided with the vernal equinoctial week, and the shishimai began to be called Higan-jishi (the Lion of the Equinoctial Week).
(Event-holding date: March 18 to 24)

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