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Kawamata Machi , Fukushima Related category:
Yamaki-ya Yasaka Shrine San-biki Shishimai (Three Lion Dance)    



Digest: 3 minutes
Entire story: 43 minutes
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In the Yamaki-ya district of Kawamata Machi, Date Gun, Fukushima Prefecture, the "San-biki shishimai (three lion dance)," which is performed as a dedication ceremony for Yasaka Shrine (and was designated as a Kawamata Machi intangible cultural property in 1964), is being continued as a traditional performance. Although its origins are not clearly known, there is a record of the dance being performed in the Edo period in 1827, so it can be assumed that the tradition has been continued for approximately 170 years. The dedication performance for Yasaka Shrine is held on the first Sunday in October every year, and dancers are selected from among children aged between 9 to 11 years old. On the day of the performance, relevant persons gather at the "accommodation" early in the morning, and the lions enter the grounds of the shrine while performing a "greeting" dance.
The lions then perform the dance "Hito-niwa" (in which they perform approximately 10 dance items in a row) in the grounds of the shrine, which marks the commencement of the ceremony.
All "San-niwa" (three sets of Hito-niwa) dances are performed by the afternoon, and the lions then leave the shrine to perform "kado zuke" (dances at the entrances of homes of families who requested performances). "Kado zuke" are performed at up to 30 homes. The lions then move to the "accommodation," take a rest, and then perform the last "Hito-niwa" in the garden of the accommodation. The final event is the "naorai," which is a party held at the conclusion of the ceremony.

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