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Performance Arts of Tonami Shrine

Location: Tonami, Masuda-machi, Yokote City
Site(s) of performance: Tonami Shrine and the open space in front of the Tonami Annex of Masuda Community Center
Date(s): May 5 (the annual Tonami Festival) and August 14
Designation: City-Designated Intangible Folkloric Cultural Property
Category: Furyū
The community of Tonami practices every year what they call Gion Bayashi (Gion Music) at the annual festival of Tonami Shrine, Kitsune Bayashi (Fox Music) on April 8 in the lunar calendar, and Kusa Ondo (Commoners’ Dance Music) as a Bon dance. The Gion Bayashi is a Kyoto-style music that was brought here by Chishima Kenmotsu, a masterless samurai from Kaga Province (present-day Ishikawa Prefecture), at the turn of the 18th century. Kitsune Bayashi used to be offered on April 8 in the lunar calendar, the day before the annual festival of Yakushi Shrine, and now, the shrine having been abolished, the participants dance around a bonfire in the community park. Kusa Ondo is performed in the same park on August 14 for the Bon dance. As its name suggests, it involves a simple dance and music.

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