Kamimai Iwakuni

Kamimai Kagura


Yukaba, Iwakuni


The god dance (kamimai kagura) is dedicated to the god of Aramitama shrine. Some gods are known as boisterous gods (aramitama) while others genial gods (nigimitama). The Aramitama shrine worships the boisterous god therefore its god dance is boisterous accordingly. As part of kamimai a kind of clown (modoki) visits four gods: East, South, West, and North bringing something lofty and divine down to human and profane terms. An auspicious, divine old man (okina) dances an elegant dance, while a second character with a grotesque mask appears and comically apes the old man’s movements.


The god dance is performed annually and in greater scale in every seven years in which a man climbs up a dangerously high pine tree and down along a rope. Before the Meiji era, the god dance was performed by priests and related people.