Arase Lion Dance
Location: Arase, Ani, Kita-Akita City
Site(s) of performance: Various places in the community
Date(s): August 13
Designation: City-Designated Intangible Folkloric Cultural Property
Category: Sasara and Horse Dance
The origin of the Arase Lion Dance goes back at least to the Edo era. It was interrupted by the great famine of 1832, but was fully revived by the Meiji era starting in 1868. According to oral records, the lord of Akita himself danced it on his way to and from Edo. It has been performed for the spirits of the ancestors, for a good harvest, and for the safety of the community. Despite the name of the lion dance, it includes a daimyo’s procession, stick dance, and horse dance in addition to the lion dance in the strict sense. There also used to be a manzai (celebratory speech performance). The lion dance here is performed by two male lions and one female lion to repel evil spirits from houses. The two male lions compete for the female lion. Music is played by drums and Japanese flutes.