Mugiyabushi of Gokayama Villages

The melody of mugiyabushi was composed by farmers working in fields of wheat, barley, oats, and rye (mugi). The tune emanates sadness and sorrow, but the dancing (mugiyu odori) is a serene and meticulous collaboration of sound and movement.

About 800 years ago, samurai warriors of the once-powerful Heike clan sought refuge in a secluded area of Gokayama after they had been defeated in the battles of Kurikara and Dannoura against the Genji clan. The Heike people threw down their swords and took up the hoe and sickle to live out their lives as farmers.






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