Rice Cake-Making Dance
Location: Hayashi-no-koshi, Yonaizawa, Kita-Akita City
Site(s) of performance: Kumano Shrine
Date(s): August 28
Designation: City-Designated Intangible Folkloric Cultural Property
This dance is performed as an offering at the annual festival of Kumano Shrine. In Yonaizawa (in the former Moriyoshi Town) only Shinmachi has this tradition, and its origin is unknown. It is said to have been danced for the ceremony to pray over the death of Buddha. Every year on August 15, a large rice cake-making mortar was set up at the town center on the street, and red rice (rice with soy beans) that had been offered at individual houses’ altars were collected and pounded into sticky rice cakes. People danced around the mortar while pounding the rice. Since 1968, the dance has been performed on August 28, the day before the annual festival of Kumano Shrine.