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Kushi Shrine Okashira Rituals

Location: Kawafukuro, Kisakata-machi, Nikaho City
Site(s) of performance: Kushi Shrine, Suwa Shrine, and other places in the community
Date(s): April 10, 3rd Sunday of May, and June 5
Category: Shishi-Kagura
The performance mainly consists of the performance of the Lion Head Dance (also called the Twelve-Number Lion Dance), a kind of shishimai (lion dances). The performers go around the community offering the dance of prayer at individual houses. After the rituals at the shrine, the performers go around the shrine three times with the lion head and offer the dances in the prayer hall of the shrine. They then go around the community. This shishimai is performed by a lion with two performers. When it is performed in the shrine, the priest stands with the altar to his back and the lion dances facing the priest and the altar. A small table is installed between the priest and the dancing lion, on which a talisman and various offerings such as rice, dried squid, and dried seaweed are placed. While the lion is dancing, the priest holds up the talisman and the offerings, which the dancing lion bites and then turns anticlockwise. It is also characteristic of this dance that the dancing lion executes the rituals of eating hard food for health and an earless dance with its ears hidden with cloth. While the lion is dancing, the priest faces it and continues to read out celebratory words. At Kawafukuro, the lion is believed to be female and thus does not take either rice or sword in her hand.

About Lion Kagura (Shishi-Kagura)