Tokyobling's Blog

Ryuzu No Mai – Dragon Dance at Hachioji Matsuri

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on September 3, 2014

At this year’s grand Hachioji Matsuri I saw these three dragon head’s dancers (龍頭の舞), performing a 400 year old ritual dance with drums, flutes and great wooden masks. The dance itself is quite acrobatic, with great leaps and spins. There are very few performers of this dance left in Japan, but the traditions and the equipment is kept in shape by a few groups of dedicated performers. The three masks used by these performers were made by local craftsmen in 1712, making them the oldest masks in continued use by dancers anywhere in the country. They are decorated with horse manes and long bird feathers (which I learned was about 2000 a piece to buy new and wore out quite quickly).

It was a very hot day and it must have been quite exhausting to have so many performances outside in just one day.

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