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Tsurugata Sasara

Location: Tsurugata, Noshiro City
Site(s) of performance: Kaizoji Temple and other places in the community
Date(s): August 13
Category: Sasara and Horse Dance
It is unclear when the Tsurugata Sasara started. According to legends here, when Lord Satake was moved from Hitachi-Ōta (present-day Ibaraki Prefecture) to Akita in 1602, a lower-class samurai danced to entertain the lord and prevent wrong-doers, and he came to Tsurugata and started the tradition here. On the other hand, some say sasara was already practiced here before 1602. Despite its name of Tsurugata Sasara (sasara being a kind of lion dance), it includes not only lion dances but also stick dances and yakko dances (samurai servants’ dances). The yakko dances seem to be a recent addition, which replaced sōshimai (strongmen’s dances) and manzai (celebratory speech performances). The lion dances are performed by one lion with one performer, who beats a small drum at the waist without a drumstick while dancing. Music is played with drums, Japanese flutes, and songs.

About Sasara and Horse Dance (Koma-Odori)