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Tanabe City , Wakayama Related category:
Ueno no Shishimai (The Ueno Lion Dance)    



Digest: 3 minutes
Entire story: 34 minutes
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The form of lion dance practiced in Ueno district of Shimokawashimo, Tanabe, can trace its origin to the Ise Dai-Kagura, the grand kagura performance at Ise. Records that included ancient documents relating to this dance were burned by a big fire in 1954, and with them much information on the history and origins of the dance. The dance has been performed at Kasuga Shrine since the Muromachi Period. A festival is held annually on November 3rd. The performances of the lion dance start with Miyairi, the entry into the shrines premises. After the lion is blessed by Shinto priests kagura is performed at the front shrine. Finally, mats are spread in the grounds of the shrine and the lion dances are performed. Currently, there are 7 different types of performances; Hei no mai, Kami-bayashi, Kuguiri, Ran-jishi, Tsurugi no mai, Hana-gakari, and Goshaku. The director of the dance explains that the key to the dance is how the feelings of the lion are expressed by the performers.

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