At Tokyo’s famous Yasukuni Shrine earlier this year I saw a performance of Nihon Buyo, traditional Japanese dances, one of which was a rather funny mime dancer doing a near perfect fisherman routine. I have seen a lot of Nihon Buyo over the years but never something as funny as this. Unfortunately I didn’t get a program for the performance that day.
Few shrines in Tokyo has as great stages as Yasukuni shrine. Most weekends have something interesting being performed and since it is always free to watch it is always worth a visit. It is close to Kudanshita subway station or a not too far walk from Iidabashi train station.
The traditional dancing of Japan is not only performed by geisha, but also by ordinary people, like this girl performign at the Yasukuni shrine in central Tokyo this last summer. With roots in the 17th century, traditional Japanese dancing is now quite rare, and fantastically expensive as a hobby among ordinary people. This little girl was excellent in her pantomime and slow, studied movements. If you are interested in classical Japanese arts and culture it is often cheaper and easier to keep an eye out for the rare free performances like this! Most of these dances are performed alone, but sometimes there is an assistant clad in black staying silent and motionless in the background, only moving to hand props or arrange the clothing of the dancer.
At the recent Mitama Matsuri in Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine I saw this beautiful performer of Nihon Buyou, or traditional Japanese dance. These days the vast majority of dancers in this traditional genre are much older than this lady and it is good to see that at least some in the younger generation that keeps the tradition alive! During the four day festival dozens of dancers performed at this stage, free of charge and plenty of seating. I’m surprised not more people came to watch, but I was also happy to be able to focus on getting good photos without the crowds for once.