Regional Cultural Asset Portal

Ichiki Kushikino City , Kagoshima
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The Tanabata Odori Dance of Ichiki    

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Entire story: 41 minutes
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The origin of this dance goes back 400 years and it is commonly believed to have been started for the victory celebrations of the feudal lord, Shimazu Yoshihiros invasion of Korea. 90 years later, a priest of Kinshoji temple called Shahanso, and the jito (lord of the manor) called Tokonami Toju, started construction of an irrigation canal to the Osato Suiden (rice field). The canal was completed in 1684, and performance of the dance was resumed in commemoration of the reclamation of the Osato rice field. It has been said that anyone from the Osato area must be in charge of playing the drum at least once in his life and those who do not live in the area are sure to come back home in order to participate in this dance every year. This is the dance which has been carried on for nearly 300 years under strict rules, and it has been designated a National Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property. The dance is still performed on the nearest Sunday to August 7 every year and many activities take place besides the taiko odori (drum dance), including the exhibition of animal tsukurimono (models), such as ox, tiger, crane and deer, as well as various parades, such as the daimyo gyoretsu (procession of a feudal lord), Ryukyu-o gyoretsu (procession of the King of the Ryukyus), naginata gyoretsu (procession of Japanese halberds), and katchu gyoretsu (armor procession). The dance is performed in numerous venues and dedicated to various gods in the Osato area and to the ancestors spirits, as a prayer for a good harvest.

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