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Yatushiro City , Kumamoto Related category:
The Uyanagi Bon Odori, Shishibugaku and Hanayakko of Yatsushiro Shrine (Myokengu)    

Digest: 3 minutes
Entire story: 46 minutes
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[Uyanagi Bon Odori] This bon dance is said to have started in the early Edo period (1603-1867). As the dancers are clad in black headgear, white kimono and a black obi belt, it is sometimes called the moja odori (dance of the dead). Its special characteristic lies in the fact that they dance according to lyrical songs but without being accompanied by any musical instruments.[Shishibugaku and Hanayakko of Yatsushiro Shrine (Myokengu)] The festival of Yatsushiro Shrine was started about 1300 years ago following the legend that the god called Myokenshin crossed the sea from China on the back of a kida (turtle snake) and landed in Yatsushiro. The procession of the festival starts from Shioya Hachimangu Shrine in the castle town of Yatsushiro and heads for Yatsushiro Shrine. In this procession, the Shishibugaku (Shinto lion dance) takes the lead, followed by the Hanayakko. The Shishimai was started in the Genroku era (1688-1704) borrowing from the Rakan Shishimai of Okunchi Matsuri festival in Nagasaki, and the Hanayakko is said to have been dedicated first in 1752.

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