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Bugaku is the gagaku (Japanese court music) with dance, while the gagaku without dance is called kangen. What is properly called bugaku is of foreign origin, i.e., tōgaku (Chinese music) or komagaku (Korean music), but the term also covers native Japanese gagaku of Shinto origin such as kagura and azuma-asobi (music and dance of East Japan). Bugaku in Akita, which refers to bugaku of foreign origin with some Japanese elements, was practiced at religious ceremonies, new buildings’ inaugurations, and new year rituals. They are rather rare in Akita, but one precious example is Dainichidō Bugaku in Kazuno City. At Dainichidō Shrine a good variety of performance arts are practiced, including the Godaison Dance (dance of five disciples of Buddha), which preserves gigaku, the oldest form of gagaku. Bugaku usually requires a strict hereditary system, where the performance has been passed down from fathers to eldest sons. Other elements of bugaku in Akita have been merged with Dengaku, the Lion Dance, and other Furyū-type of performance arts and make up part of the complexities of folkloric performance arts here.

Dainichidō Bugaku