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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Individual Shrine Observances
Tōka shinji
This ritual is held on January 4 at Sumiyoshi Taisha in Sumiyoshi Ward, Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture. It is also called the fukumochi shinji (Good Fortune Mochi Ritual). In front of the kami, the fukuromochi yaku (bag holder), carrying a bag filled with small rice cakes (mochi), and the zubae yaku (plum branch holder), carrying a small plum branch, both repeat movements resembling bugaku dance. During this time, the zubae yaku cries out, "Fukuromochi!" and the bag-holder replies, "Ō tomo yō!" After repeating this three times, the bag-holder counts the mochi inside the bag and intones "Manzairaku" three times. Finally, the distribution of the mochi to the onlookers takes place. The fukuromochi ("mochi in the bag") seems to be associated with fukumochi ("good-luck mochi").
       A ritual of the same name is held on January 11 at Atsuta Jingū in Atsuta Ward, Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture. It is said to convey dance songs (tōka) that were popularly performed at the imperial palace during the Heian period. A person playing the role of attendant (beijū) sings saibara songs, then dances solo with an uzue (magical staff) as a torimono (prop). Then the kōkoji (court dancers in tall white hats) hold their furizutsumi (rattle drums) high and shake them. Because of the sound made by these drums, this ritual is also commonly called the berobero ritual. This sound is said to foretell whether the year's harvest will be good or bad.

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