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Gyoda City , Saitama Related category:
Lion Dance of Mamizuka    



Digest: 3 minutes
Entire story: 86 minutes
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There used to be a village named Mamizuka-mura situated in the northwestern part of Saitama Prefecture. About 250 years ago, "Mamizuka no Shishi-mai (the lion dance of Mamizuka)" is said to have started out as a ritual to pray for abundant crops and chase away evil spirits. Shishi-mai is the lion dance performed by 3 lion characters: Hogan, Mejishi (female lion), and Ojishi (male lion). In addition, there appear in the scenes other characters such as Menka (usher), Hanagasa (bamboo hat decorated with artificial flowers) and Doke (clown), or stage properties including "tsurigane (hanging bell)" and "daija (serpents)." This dance is dedicated to a Shinmeisha shrine (shrine dedicated to Goddess Amaterasu) during its annual festival in September.
First comes the ritual of the annual festival. After the purification ritual for the lion dance is completed, "bojotsu (stick fighting)," and lion dance programs such as "Okazaki" or "Hana-gakari" are performed in front of the main shrine. And then, the procession with hanging lanterns and flags parade around in town. During the parade, the dance program "Inaho (rice)" is performed in the Suwa Shrine, "Okazaki" in the Yakushi-do hall, and "Bunnaguri (punching)" in the fudo temple. In the Saizen-in Temple, with the appearance of hanging bells and serpents, they perform the program "Kanemaki," which is known by the characters "Anchin" and "Kiyo-hime." Finally, the procession returns to the Shinmeisha shrine and the annual festival closes.

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