Hiroshima KaguraHiroshima Kagura


Hiroshima Prefecture has a thriving kagura community. Renowned as one of the leading regions for kagura in Japan, there are almost three hundred kagura groups active in the prefecture. Back in times when there was little entertainment available, kagura was one of the major events enjoyed by the whole village. A stage was erected in the precincts of the temple, and kagura was offered as a prayer and sign of gratitude to the gods. In between dances, participants held competitions of firework techniques including fukibi (fire-blowing) and others, and they often danced all through the night by the burning bonfire. It is said that spectators too would each bring food and drink and spend the whole night there enjoying the event. As a local performance art in Hiroshima, kagura is a traditional performance art from the good old days that continues to survive as part of peoples' lifestyle. We want to hand down and widely communicate the attraction of kagura to successive generations.
The characteristics of kagura in Hiroshima Prefecture vary depending on the region.
agura in and around Hiroshima City is known as Junijingi (twelve deities), due to the fact that twelve dances are offered on the night before the Autumn Festival every year. The Aki Junijingi was passed down from the northern part of Hiroshima Prefecture from around the end of the Edo Period through the Meiji Period, and today exists as a rare and precious form of kagura in Japan that dates from the Middle Ages.

Other forms of kagura include:

(1) Geihoku kagura:with flashy costumes using gold and silver thread and large masks, the showy performance of furious dances and music with sparks flying has helped to promote Hiroshima's kagura throughout the country.

(2) Kagura using straw dolls:this form of kagura has quietly been handed down, limited to the islands and shore areas of the Seto Inland Sea.

(3) Extremely old form of kagura where performers become possessed by the gods as they continue to dance

(4) Kagura that includes songs and story-telling