Location: Funakoshi (Oga City) and Tenno (Katagami City)
Site(s) of performance: Toko-Yasaka Shrine
Date(s): July 6 and 7
Designation: State-Designated Important Intangible Folkloric Cultural Property (Tōko-Yasaka Shrine’s Tonin Festival)
Category: Taiko-Furyū and Matsuri-Bayashi
This is one of the drum music performances practiced at the annual festival of Tōko-Yasaka Shrine. The parishioners of the shrine are divided into two groups of Funakoshi and Tennō. Children of these two communities also participate, representing their respective communities. Yama Daiko is a large drum held on the back of one person that another person hits with sticks. Japanese flutes and sasara (wooden percussion instruments played with rubbing sticks) are made with name plates of dead people. On the evening before the festival day, the tonins (leaders) of the two communities perform the rituals of Nanado-Han prayer (calling for the deity for seven times) and big drums are played then. The drummers are behind the deity of Yamata-no-Orochi (a giant snake with eight heads), and they beat the drums hard while the deity of Susanoo-no-Mikoto (mythical ancestress of the Japanese imperial house) crosses the canal from the Tennō side to the Funakoshi side. Meanwhile, the deity of Yamata-no-Orochi in red costume performs the spider dance. After the performance is over, the sasara with dead people’s name plates are destroyed at the boat’s edge and put in the water, after which the Yama Daiko Festival is officially over.