Apr 11, 2010

Lions go crazy!

I have climbed Mt. Takamizu many times so far. Just below the summit of this mountain, there is Jofukuin Temple Fudo-do (常福院不動堂). The main temple building stands at the foot of the mountain in the Nariki district.

The rehearsal of the shishimai lion dance performance of Mt. Takamizu is held on Saturday, and the performance was dedicated to the Fudo-do on Sunday.

I visited the main temple to see the rehearsal on Saturday. I got on a bus at JR Kabe Station at 10:15 a.m. After the 35-minute bus ride, I got off the bus at the terminal stop Kaminariki. Jofukuin Temple was in a distance of a few-minute walk from there. In the temple yard, they were selling balloons, sweet sake-lees drink, and cotton candy for 0 yen.

The clear high-pitched sounds of bamboo fifes are important elements for shishimai lion dances.

The kimono of the sasara players, who were wearing paper flower ornament on their heads, was black furisode (kimono with long hanging sleeves) with the family emblems at five points. So, they looked very formal and fashionable. They were probably elementary school girls, or even kindergarten pupils. I really loved to see them playing their roles eagerly.

Tayu, or the great lion, has a golden face with two twisted horns, while Kodayu, or the young lion, has a black face with straight horns. The red-faced lion is Mejishi, or the female lion, who has no horn.

This performing art belongs to three-lion dances. In this type of dance, when lions dance very hard, the lions are described as "going crazy."

Still feeling the aftertaste of the wonderful lion dances, I dropped in an izakaya for some good sake. This time, I drank at Oumi in Tachikawa City.


Melinda said...

How interesting! I always think of Chinese parades when I think of lion dances.

How was the Oumi?

Ichibay said...

The lion dances of this type are performed chiefly in the Kanto region.
Each dance expresses an interesting scenario.
I plan to provide detailed description of this performing art in near future posts.
Many performances will be held in different areas (in Okutama areas, for example) in summer.

As to Oumi, please read the follwoing post: