Regional Cultural Asset Portal

Gyoda City , Saitama Related category:
Lion Dancing of Shimo-chujo(Designated Intangible Folklore Cultural Asset of Prefecture)    

Digest: 3 minutes
Entire story: 119 minutes
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Lion Dancing of Shimo-chujo is danced by 3 lion characters: “Hogan (dharma eye),” “Naka-jishi (middle lion),” and “Ato-jishi (rear lion).” Each of the characters is performed independently by 3 dancers. And another character “Menka (clown)” joins them and leads the whole dancing squad. There are two possible legends about its origin. According to one of them, when the Tone River flooded in the Tenmei Era (1781-1789), a lion mask was washed up on this area and dedicated to a shrine here, which encouraged the local people to start this dance performance. According to the other, the Hasegawa family, an immigrant family from Kamakura in current Kanagawa Prefecture who developed Shimo-nakajo Village, initiated this performance in 1598. This lion dance is presented 4 times a year, and the biggest performance is held in August, as part of Haruko Shrine’s grand festival. In the festival, the item “Kachi-kachi (onomatopoeia of swords hitting each other) ” is performed by children, as well as stick fighting presented by adults, or lion dances including the item “Kanemaki (derived from the kabuki play ’Musume Shojo-ji’).” As for the 3 other annual performances, “Yakujin-yoke (chasing away evils)” is presented in April, “Shiho-gatame (blocking 4 directions)” in May, and “Noagari-no- Yakujin-yoke (chasing away evils after agricultural tasks are completed)” in July.

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