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Buzen City , Fukuoka Related category:
The Iwato Kagura of Buzen City    

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Entire story: 32 minutes
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The Iwato Kagura of Buzen City has at present been passed down to six preservation societies. The history of this kagura goes back a long time and it is thought to have been established by the medieval period. However, the earliest that the existence of this kagura can be confirmed in various written documents is after the beginning of the Edo period (1603-1867). As for the repertoire, although it is commonly called Buzen Iwato Kagura Sanjusanban (33 pieces), in fact there existed more than this originally. The repertoire is roughly divided into two categories, namely shiki kagura which are related to ritualistic purification, and hono kagura which are based on the myths of Izumo. The special characteristic of this areas kagura lies in the fact that, although the pieces are mostly Izumo-style, its biggest feature is the yudate kagura in the Ise style. In addition, the yudate kagura has been strongly influenced by the culture of the Mountain Shugen-do which flourished in Mt. Kubote. Shiki kagura, such as hanakagura, sasakagura, yumishogo, and jiwari, are graceful dances true to the original form of kagura, and they give the spectators a taste of a solemn atmosphere. Iwatohiraki is an orthodox number, but the powerful dance of the gods takes us back to ancient times. The kagura based on the myths of Izumo, such as the misaki kagura, the slaying of the dragon and the receiving of the gods, as well as the acrobatic tsurugi kagura and the bon kagura are all pleasurable numbers to watch. When all is said and done, however, the piece de resistance is the yudate kagura. The ogre climbing up the 10-meter-high saihoko is astounding and the following hiwatari overwhelms spectators with the verve of the practitioners of Shugen-do. These kagura are dedicated at over 60 shrines around the city from September to December, every year.

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