August 15, Kagura (sacred music and dancing performed at shrines)

"Mysterious Live in Shonai" I have heard this title a couple years ago and have been interested in it since three years ago. Three years ago, I missed the festival because I made a mistake of the date for one week Last year, I couldn't join it without any specific reason. This time, I made up mind not to miss it at all cost. The site is the luxurious "Kagura" theater of Shonai village in which Kagura is very actively handed down. At the theater, a jazz live by Ms. Toshiko Akiyoshi was held as reported in my home page. You see a mascot character "Mikoto-chan" on the right bottom of the billboard.
There are torches along the approach to the theater. Will they be lit in the night?
Many stalls line on the lawn-covered square in front of the theater.Children are running around and shopping joyfully.
In this October, National Culture Festival will be held in Oita prefecture and Kagura will be performed at this theater. There is a mascot called "One Village One Product Campaign." I found later it moved.
At the show window of the theater, costumes and poster like those were displayed.
Now the performance started. After the opening greeting, the first performance is to be played, the title is "Five Position Cleaning" that cleans five positions of the ground (north, south, east, west, and center.) Five shinto priests dance in front of the sacred altar ("Ame-no Iwato", literally "The rock Door of heaven") on the stage. On the right of the thatere is a banner that reads "In front of the sacred tree, we offer the Iwato Kagura dance to God and will hand down it to the descendants."
Next dance is "Kakoyumi", literally "Deer hunting bow." This is also a happy dance cerebrating the reopen of the Door. Dancers play with bows and arrows used for deer hunting.

Now comes the costar of Kakoyumi Kagura dancers with a jazz band, on the left. It is very exciting to see such an active dance under the spot light of red and yellow. They dance splendidly on the rhythmical music of Diamond by Ventures. I suppose ancient Gods are surprised, but satisfied the dance. The "Midds" jazz band consists of 20 members and is active in Oita and Beppu area.

Next comes "Kunitsukasa", literally "Reign a country" dance. Gods are discussing who will reign the country. An arbitrator called Okuni-Nushi comes to mediate the dispute. A jestes plays a comical dance around the Gods. Okuni-Nushi reprove him by a fishing rod. The action is played on the background jazz music of "In The Mood." It is very funny to see the performance. Okuni-Nushi is sometimes called "Yebisu", a legendary god who brings people happiness with its catch of a sea bream. The God's image is adopted as a trade mark of Yebisu beer, which is my husband's favorite drink. There are 12 Kagura dance groups in Shonai village. One of them called Onoya group is in charge this year. Next performance is "Extermination of Dragon."