Kumo Mai (Spider Dance)
Location: Funakoshi, Oga City
Site(s) of performance: Funakoshi Canal on the water
Date(s): July 7
Designation: State-Designated Important Intangible Folkloric Cultural Property (Toko-Yasaka Shrine’s Tonin Festival)This is performed at the annual festival of Tōko-Yasaka Shrine. At the festival, from the Tennō side appears the deity of Susanoo-no-Mikoto, who goes around the town on a black cow, and from the Funakoshi side appears the deity of Yamata-no-Orochi (a giant snake with eight heads) in red costume, who performs a somersault dance on a stage created on the water between two boats. All this represents an ancient myth, combining the story of the fight against Yamata-no-Orochi in the ‘Kojiki’ (The Annals of Ancient Times) and the local worship of water gods. The festival includes a prayer for bumper crops, an abundant fish catch, and the repulsion of evil spirits. The Kumo Mai (Spider Dance) was originally a kind of tightrope walking performance, which was quite popular at the turn of the 17th century.