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Anan City , Tokushima
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The Shishimai Dance of Hara    

Digest: 3 minutes
Entire story: 56 minutes
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A reference to Hara no Shishimai (a lion dance) is found in a document written in 1814 in the form of "A Shishimai of Hara Village," indicating that the dance has a history of about 200 years. Since the Taisho period (1912-1926) the shishimai has been discontinued twice, but each time it has been revived. However, due to the shortage of successors, it has once again ceased to be dedicated at the festivals. The shishimai was performed at the autumn festival (Omatsuri) of Hachiman Shrine in Miguryu. In the Omatsuri, danjiri (floats) from each of 12 villages in Hirajimason took part and the shishi (lion) walked before the danjiri procession in order to expel evils. The performance of the shishimai dance, however, was always put at the end of the festival because if the shishimai, the biggest attraction of the festival were performed earlier, all the spectators would have gone home at the end of the performance. Hara no shishimai has also been inherited by nearby areas and it has been said that the shishimai of Hanoura Shrine and Hachiman Shrine in Kiki (Kaifu County) derive from this. It was designated an Intangible Folk Cultural Property by Nakagawa-cho in 1999.

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