Kōya Lion Dance
Location: Ani-Koya, Kita-Akita City
Site(s) of performance: Kōya Shrine
Date(s): 3rd Sunday of September (the day of annual festival of Kōya Shrine) (no longer practiced at the time of survey in fiscal year 2011)
Designation: City-Designated Intangible Folkloric Cultural Property
Category: Sasara and Horse Dance
Despite the name of lion dance, the lion dance itself disappeared early and only the stick dance and yakko dance (samurai servants’ dance) have been passed down. In the old days, the procession of the usherer, stick dancers, yakko dancers with fans, and lion dancers walked around the village, performing the dances as an offering at the shrine at the end. Until around 1955, there was also a performance of manzai (celebratory speech performances). It was brought here from Arase (in the former Ani Town). It is said that the view of the procession of dancers at Kōya was a gorgeous one. The origin of this type of dance performances goes back to the performance by the followers of Lord Satake during their journey from Hitachi (present-day Ibaraki Prefecture) to Akita in 1602.