Kanezawa Sasara Dance
Location: Nakano, Kanezawa, Yokote City
Site(s) of performance: Kanezawa Hachiman Shrine and other places in the community
Date(s): September 15
Designation: City-Designated Intangible Folkloric Cultural Property
Category: Sasara and Horse Dance
The Kanezawa Sasara Dance is performed at eight places in the community and then performed in the shrine as divine offerings. It was brought here in the 17th century when Lord Satake was moved here by the shogunate from Hitachi Province (present-day Ibaraki). Its origin is Motegi Sasara, which was practiced at Motegi (in present-day Tochigi Prefecture, to the west of Ibaraki Prefecture). The origin of Motegi Sasara goes back to the Gosannen War in the 11th century. Princess Chōju followed her sweetheart, General Minamoto Yoshiie, in his campaign to the north, but Yoshiie decided to leave her behind at Motegi. Before heading further north, Yoshiie performed a sasara dance. She died of disease and never saw her lover again. Since then, villagers performed the sasara dance to console the spirit of the princess, and it became Motegi Sasara. When Lord Satake was still in Hitachi Province, he deployed an army there for defense to the west. The soldiers learned the sasara dance there. Because it was learned by soldiers, the sasara dance that was later brought to Akita with Lord Satake and his followers was an energetic one. Music for Kanezawa Sasara Dance is played with drums and Japanese flutes only.