Kanezawa Hachiman Shrine Singing Event
Location: Yasumotodate, Kanezawa, Yokote City
Site(s) of performance: Kanezawa Hachiman Shrine
Date(s): September 14
Designation: Prefecture-Designated Intangible Folkloric Cultural Property
On the evening before the annual festival of Kanezawa Hachiman Shrine, villagers sang improvised songs over the night. They were allowed to sing about anything, including culture and politics or current problems and issues. There are two theories about the origin of the event. According to one theory, when the shrine was rebuilt in 1604, villagers gathered and celebrated the reconstruction with songs, which became an annual event, while according to the other, since there used to be an annual ritual of Hachiman Shrine after midnight (at the Hour of the Ox, or 2am) and villagers spent the night at the shrine, they started singing spontaneously over cups of sake.