What is kagura in the first place? We will introduce the origins of Kagura and the history of Hiroshima Kagura.
Kagura where people wearing gorgeous costumes and expressive kagura masks dance with taiko drums, flutes, and time signatures. It has been performed as a Shinto ritual dedicated to the Ujigami by praying for a good harvest of five grains, but today it is enjoyed by people as a local entertainment indispensable for events and celebrations.
What is kagura?
Songs and dances dedicated to gods in Japanese mythology
Kagura is the oldest performing art in Japan that was once actively performed throughout Japan.
According to one theory, its origin dates back to the “Amaiwato (Amaiwato) legend” in Japanese mythology (Kojiki and Nihonshoki), and Amaterasu Omikami (Amaterasu Omikami) hidden in a cave called Amanoiwato It is said that the dance (Mai), performed by Amano Uzume no Mikoto (Ama no Uzume no Mikoto) in front of Iwato, began in order to lure him out.
There are various theories about the etymology, but it comes from the sacred place “Kamukura” that welcomes the gods, and the songs and dances performed in front of the gods for the reimbursement, five-grain harvest, dispelling disaster, and thank-you for a good harvest are called “Kagura” It is said that it was now.
It has been handed down to various regions against the backdrop of the climate and culture of various parts of Japan, and it has been performed as a Shinto ritual dedicated to the local god.
Today, it is not limited to shrine festivals, but is familiar to people as a local entertainment indispensable for events and celebrations.
The history of Hiroshima Kagura
The flow of various regions merges and is transmitted to the present
Kagura in Hiroshima is a fusion of various regional streams such as Izumo Kagura and Iwato Kagura in Kyushu, based on the stream of Omoto Kagura, which has been performed at shrines in the Iwami region, preserving its old form from ancient times to the present day.
Currently, the kagura in Hiroshima prefecture is divided into five major kaguras: “Geihoku Kagura,” “Aki Twelve Kagura,” “Geiyo Islands Kagura,” “Hiba Kojin Kagura,” and “Bingo Kagura,” but among them, Geihoku Kagura is based on Iwami Kagura. It is said that it was introduced to the Geihoku area of Yamagata-gun, Hiroshima prefecture in the Edo period, and developed as a unique kagura while evolving along the flow of the times.
It has been handed down by Takada Kagura, which has a fast tempo in eight tones and a brave dance, and Yamagata Kagura, an elegant dance with a gentle and quiet pace in six tones. Even now, in farming villages, when they finish harvesting rice in autumn, thank the harvest of shrines here and there. Kagura is performed at the Kaguraden (Kaguraden) inside.
Recently, it has been widely received by the general public due to inauguration ceremonies, wedding entertainment, and kagura competitions, etc., and evoking a kagura boom.