Regional Cultural Asset Portal

Iizuna Machi , Nagano
(Mure Mura)
Related category:
Kosaka no Otoko Jishi (Male lion of Kosaka) Ganbo-ji no Etoki (Ganbo-ji Temple pictorial explanation)    

Digest: 3 minutes
Entire story: 59 minutes
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Kosaka no Otoko Jishi (Male lion of Kosaka)
The Shinto dance performance "Otoko Jishi (male lion dance)" is passed down in the Kosaka district in Mure Mura (current Iizuna Machi), which is located in the northern part of Nagano Prefecture. It is said that the dance dates back approximately 250 years when the people of the Takada region in Nagano Prefecture visited a mountain in the Kosaka district to cut grass and taught the local people how to dance the shishimai. People start practicing the dance in autumn, and perform the dance on the night of the autumn festival at Takaoka Shrine. The Kosaka Otoko Jishi is characterized by a shishi kyogen (a lion kyogen play) featuring "Kokusenya Kassen" written by Chikamatsu Monzaemon, which is performed between dances. The play includes scenes in which the legendary military commander "Watonai" fights with a Chinese person using swords, and then defeats a lion that has transformed into a tiger.

Kanpo-ji no Etoki (Kanpo-ji Temple pictorial explanation)
Kanpo-ji Temple has traditionally used the "etoki" (pictorial explanation) technique for explaining the history of its foundation using a picture scroll. The etoki technique consists of a traditional literary style of speech inherited from India, which was brought to Japan together with Buddhism via the Silk Road, and this is a rare case of the preservation of such a technique in Japan. The story line of this etoki case features Shinran Shounin, who, during his work as a missionary, reforms the cruel hearted Hino Saemon. Hino Saemon becomes a pupil of Shinran Shounin, and later founds Kanpo-ji Temple.

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