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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Performing Arts
"Heron dance." A folk ritual performance belonging to the category of furyū (refined) , it is also called sagimai. Sagi-odori originated from dances performed to musical accompaniment at the festival of Gion Shrine (now called Yasaka Jinja). The festival itself evolved from the Kyoto Gion gyoryōe festival . During the Muromachi period the dance was spread to various regions around Japan as the influence of Gion Shrine grew and festivals based on the Gion gyoryōe diffused throughout the country. At the Yasaka Shrine in Tsuwano, Shimane Prefecture, a sagimai is performed as part of the July festival. The Shrine was originally called Gion Shrine. Tradition has it that the Sagimai performed at the shrine originally came from the Gion festival of Yamaguchi during the Temmon era (1532-1555), but was subsequently discontinued, only to be revived in the seventeenth century on the model of the Kyoto festival. The Tsuwano sagimai is performed by two dancers, both of whom wear wooden headdresses resembling the sagi (heron) and have wings attached to their shoulders. The dance is performed to a musical accompaniment (flute, hand drum, drum, and bells) and singing. The dancers are also accompanied by two baton twirlers and two players of small kakko drums. As well, there are performers carrying decorative large and small umbrellas (kasaboko).

— Yonei Teruyoshi
Sagimai of the Kōnomachi Festival.

Kanagawa Prefecture , 2000

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