Tokyobling's Blog

Kochonomai – Kitazawa Hachimangu Matsuri

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on August 8, 2014

At last year’s Kitazawa Hachimangu Matsuri (festival) in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward I saw one of the most ancient forms of ritual court dances, the Kochonomai, or butterfly dance. It probably arrived to Japan from Korea in the 8th century and has been completely unaltered ever since. The dance is performed by four or eight maidens (which in modern days usually means children) with colorful costumes performing a ritual dance symbolizing the seasons. In their hands they hold branches of the Yamabuki (Kerria japonica), a rose relative that is native to Japan, Korea and China.

Japan has somehow managed to preserve many of their earliest rituals and ceremonies and for the average person, over a millennium removed, they can be difficult to understand. I will have to study this more, but in the meantime, we can just enjoy the colorful dresses and the wonderful tradition of the dances and music!

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8 Responses

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  1. Johanna Quinn said, on August 8, 2014 at 5:01 am

    Gorgeous photographs!!X

    Like

  2. Lilichan06 said, on August 8, 2014 at 5:46 am

    Really nice!!!

    Like

  3. Byunghun said, on August 8, 2014 at 10:35 am

    I absolutely love the tone difference between the wooden stage/temple and the colorful dancers. The origins of the dance is also intriguing. Thank you!

    Like

  4. Jonelle Patrick said, on August 8, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    You are the master of finding obscure and photo-worthy events! m(_ _)m I am endlessly impressed.

    Like


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