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Newsletter: Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition

Delivered on November 15, 2013
Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition: November 2013, Issue 5

Delivery Of Japan's Seasonal Tradition [Issue 5]
November 15, 2013
Japanese Traditional Culture Promotion & Development Organization


1. Seasonal Festival: Operas for Gods during the farmer's
off-season: Yokagura
2. News from JTCO

:: 1. Seasonal Festival

Operas for Gods during the farmer's off-season: Yokagura

In Japan the period from November to February is the farmers'
off-season after the harvest. Since there were not many amusements
in the ancient era, "Yokagura (Kagura performance at night)" used
to be one of the entertainments people enjoyed during the long
winter nights. Kagura is a type of Shinto theatrical music and dance
and this traditional performance has been passed from generation to
generation until today, and is performed across Japan around this
season. This is why November is also called as "Kagura-zuki (month
of Kagura)" in the old style Japanese.

There are roughly 2 kinds of Kagura. "Mikagura" ("Mi" in front
of "kagura" is an honorific letter) is one of them, performed in
the imperial court as one kind of Gagaku, an ancient court
performance. In contrast, all other performances proceeded locally
or in public are called "Satokagura"("Sato" means villages or
the country).There are many kinds of Satokagura according to the
styles or origins. Yokagura is one of the Satokagura.

The origin of the word "Kagura" is said to be 神座 (Kamukura or
kamikura), the place where gods inhabit or the place where people
invite dead spirits and soothe them. Therefore Kagura originally
refers to the performances to invite gods and then become a part of
them. This seasonal Kagura is especially for an appreciation of the
crops and pray for the next year's good harvest. They also pray for
regeneration of their souls because they believe that gods' power
becomes weaker in the winter. In Kagura, people play the role of
many gods from the Japanese myth and it is very quaint to watch.

Admission free Yokagura is often performed in public at shrines or
event venues all year round. The information can be provided by
tourist information centers.

Translation: Hitomi Kochi

:: 2. News from JTCO

New Articles Uploaded!

[Koshu Kimen Gawara: Koshu Tile with a Devil's Face]
Kagabi in Koshu (present Yamanashi Pref.) has developed the tile
industry since old times, thanks to its location with clay of high
quality, its abundant spring water and nearby mountains with fuels.

Read full article
Translation: Marina Izumi

[Hasami Porcelain]
Hasami porcelain is characterized by its beauty of pure white
porcelain and the delicately painted decoration glazed with a blue

Read full article
Translation: Yurika Tateishi, reviewed by Hiroko Okamura

[Shimojo Kabuki]
Shimojo Kabuki, a traditional performing art which has been
practiced for nearly 300 years, is designated as one of the
intangible folk cultural assets of the Shimojo village.

Read full article
Translation: Moe Shoji, Reviewed by Marina Izumi

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Development Organization (JTCO)- All Rights Reserved.

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