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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Performing Arts
Kisoi-bune
A traditional event featuring row-boat racing. There are records of Nagasaki peiron boats being called kisoibune, but generally they have been called funakurabe or funakake. When held at shrines such events are also referred to as funakurabe, but this custom is a borrowing of the Chinese tradition of racing dragon boats at the seasonal festival held on the fifth day of the fifth month (the Boys' Festival in Japan). The peiron of Nagasaki, the kyaaron of Shiranui Bay (Kumamoto Prefecture) and the haarii of Okinawa are also of Chinese origin and use Dragon boats. The morotabune of Miho Shrine and others, where boat races form part of Shrine festivals can be seen in island or coastal regions such as Tsushima, Iki, the Gotō Islands, and Uwajima, where they have been overlaid on the beliefs in sea kami (umi no kami). On Iki Island the boat race is called funaguro, and on Tsushima Island, funagorō. Paddling boats in competition as a means of praying for a bountiful rice harvest is an event that is widespread throughout South-East Asia, but the Chinese variety which occurs on the fifth day of the fifth month also clearly includes the connotation of warding off evil and disease.

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