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Dewa Shrine Gongen Dance

Location: Kami-Kosaka, Kosaka Town
Site(s) of performance: Former Shinzan Temple at Dewa Shrine
Date(s): September 8
Designation: Town-Designated Intangible Folkloric Cultural Property
Category: Shishi-Kagura
This Gongen Dance used to be offered at the vernal and autumnal festivals of Dewa Shrine alternately by the three communities of Kami-Kosaka, Naka-Kosaka, and Shimo-Kosaka. During the Edo era, because of the merger of Shinto and Buddhism, Dewa Shrine was called Shinzan Temple, and the lion head for the Shishi-Kagura (Kagura Lion Dance) was called Gongen (an incarnation of Buddha). After the ceremony at the shrine, the lion head is taken down from the altar and the Shishi-Kagura with that lion head is performed to the music of a drum, a Japanese flute, a gong, and a trumpet shell. The Gongen Dance is performed by two persons. One of its characteristics is the gesture of rice scooping, where the performers replicate the movement of scooping up rice from a barrel. This is a kind of shishimai (lion dance) belonging to the school of ascetic hermits’ kagura.

About Lion Kagura (Shishi-Kagura)