Attracting and Supporting Conventions Matsue Convention Bureau / Kunibiki Messe

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Paid Attractions

Iwami Kagura (Sacred Shinto Dances)

Although Iwami Kagura originated in the distant past, myths from the Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters) and Nihonshoki (Chronicles of Japan) were added to it by intellectuals of the Bunsei Period (1818-1830), greatly enriching and diversifying its repertoire.

In ancient times, Kagura was a religious service performed by priests to pacify the hearts of the gods. From the start of the Meiji Era (1869-1912), however, it entered popular culture and came to be performed as a type of folk entertainment.

With its brisk tempo called Hatchoshi - created using taiko drums, both small and large, hand clapping and flutes - Iwami Kagura draws the audience into the world of mythology as it portrays the remarkable spirit and incomparable heroics of the Iwami people.

Its lyrics are also distinctive. They have a solemn, graceful, classical quality that is said to be extremely rare for a country-style Kagura. At the same time, they are laced with earthy dialect and include the rustic poetry of folk ballads. The result is a truly unique form of art.

Since being performed at the Osaka International Exposition (1970), Iwami Kagura has been presented abroad numerous times, serving as a representative of traditional Japanese culture. Including the Orochi (Giant Evil Serpent) Dance, which has been highly praised for its large scale and dynamic movement, Iwami Kagura has grown to include 30 different dances. Still performed at annual religious festivals, it has now become an indispensable part of all kinds of celebrations and festivities, as well as a source of great pride to the people of the Iwami Region and beyond.

Kakeya Taiko

In 1978, Michitaka Kageyama, then a teacher at Kakeya Middle School, founded Kakeya Taiko in response to a request from the local municipality.

Currently serving as an advisor to the Kakeya Taiko Preservation Society, Mr. Kageyama spoke as follows about the founding of Kakeya Taiko.

"I was asked by Kakeya Town to compose taiko pieces. So, with my video camera, I went around Tohoku and other regions advanced in the art of taiko, observing and researching taiko performances. At the time, video cameras were big and heavy, so mine cut into my shoulder - it was terrible. What I mainly filmed was the drumming styles of drummers at the different places. Such performances by the individuals that I saw and heard somehow didn't fit my image of Kakeya. So in the end I saw no choice but to create my own works. Each day, as I was driving to work, when a rhythm would occur to me, I would stop the car and make a memo, and so on. And slowly the pieces took form. It was 1978 when all five of the compositions were completed."

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