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Hamochi matsuri, Kusakari shrine

People of Hamochi present multiple traditional rituals in streets such as onimai, onidaiko, tsuburosashi, ojishi lion dance, okesa, mikoshi, and in the evening takigi noh on Kusakari shrines’s butai.





Sado Noh

It was the gold rush to Sado in the 17th century, when the Noh fever spread on the island. Actors and performers were brought from Honsu, main land. Before long, villagers, charmed by the drama and folklore of Noh, began competing among themselves to build more stages (butai): now about thirty, but two hundred in the past. Since its discovery in 1601, until its closure in 1989, the Sado gold mine produced huge amounts of gold. The gold was also flattened into gold coins (koban).

Significance of Sado Noh is, in part, due to the presence of Zeami (assumedly 1363-1443), the founder of Noh in its modern form. At the age of 72, Zeami met with anger of the Ashikaga shogun and was exiled in 1434 to Sado but his zest for Noh and art never dwindled. Zeami lived in Kanai, which still has its own Noh stages and regular programme of performances. The Homma family’s Noh stage is oldest on Sado Island. There are empty ceramic pots half buried underneath the stage used as an echoing device. When actors dance on the stage, their sound vibrates within the pots, heightening the effect.

















Taraibune is the symbol of Ogi. They are oval, wooden tub-like boats unique to the town of Ogi on Sado Island. Taraibune, mainly operated by women, were once used to collect seaweed, sazae (wreath shells) and awabi (abalone) along Sado's rugged coastline. Women wearing kasuri kimono and sugegasa, a type of wedge hat, watched keenly through glass-bottomed wooden boxes as they were navigating tubs. They then used long wooden sticks with hooks at the end to retrieve their catch. The boats are about 180cm long, 140cm wide and 50cm deep.











Tsuburosashi dances are performed in streets and at Sugawara and Kusakari shrines during the annual festival. The dance is a simple, humorous, grotesque and rhythmical form of folklore with primitive undertones. The main performers are Tsuburosashi, and Sasarasuri; the former holds a large solid stick, representing man's penis and the latter holds sasara, a bamboo stick. The male-masked dancer wields a large wooden penis as the female-masked dancer dances provocatively while making two sticks buzz rhythmically together. The third performer, Zenidaiko carries a drum decorated by coins that have holes in the centre and strung together. The dance was originally dedicated to shrines for praying for fertility and abundant harvests. Tsuburo is local dialect for phallus and bottle gourd. Sashi refers to rubbing.

The origin of the dance is said to date back in the late 16th century, when a messenger of the village leader, sent to Kyoto to study the Japanese tea ritual, acquired the tsuburosashi dance at the Gion festival and brought it into the village. The performance was then introduced at the shrine in the castle, in wishing for millions of fruits from a seed.

































Sado Island and Okesa folksong and dance are almost synonymous with each other. Sado Okesa is characterised by the wave-like movements of the water-surrounding Sado. It is believed to be a variety of the Hanya folksong. 












This is one of the most famous traditional entertainments on Sado, and many onidaiko drummer groups have been set up to preserve this performing art. There are many stories about the origin. One source claims that it is descended from a version of the lion dance. Another is that it comes from the sounds of miners' tools in Sado
gold mines.


















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