Regional Cultural Asset Portal

Tanabe City , Wakayama Related category:
Oze Drum Dancing ( Nationally and Prefecturally Designated Intangible Folk Cultural Property)    

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Entire story: 33 minutes
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This drum dancing, associated with the Heishi samurai clan, has been passed down in the Oze Area of Tanabe City’s Hongu Town. It is said to have originated long ago, when a traveler staying in the area was so impressed by the delicious mushrooms brought before him that he performed a dance in gratitude. At first there were as many as 200 songs for this dance, but during the Meiji Era (1868-1912) they were refined down to about 40. The arrangement of the dance is characteristic to Oze, with fan-carrying dancers surrounding drummers whose drums hang down from their necks. The dancers dance to the song of the chorus leader, a spirited role which is said to have inspired harsh competition in olden times. There are four different drum tunes: Oniwa-mairi (for the entry), Henyo (for running), Shinnobi (for medium-speed running), and Otaka (for high-speed running). While the number of dancers has decreased due to an aging population, a preservation society has been established whose participants include residents of neighboring areas who were born in Oze. Additionally, the dance is performed every year during the Bon festival alongside 4th to 6th grade primary schoolers and is thus handed down to future generations.

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