Itsukushima      Miyajima Bugaku      Miyajima Noh





The Itsukushima shrine is built on the sea. It is the Heike clan’s attempt to create Ryugujo (dragon palace castle, a paradise in the sea), in this world. If you are not one belonging to the Heike you are not human – so the Heike boasted once. But their prosperity vanished. The battle of Dannoura (1185), which is located around Kanmon Channel close to this shrine, is well known as the Heike’s last stand against the Genji. Realising the inevitable end the leader of the Heike began to clean the boat by throwing away everything into the sea and drowned himself by putting dual suits of armour on him. Following him all the noble women threw themselves into the sea including the Emperor Antoku, who was only eight years old then. It is said all over the sea was coloured with beautiful kimonos of such poor women that looked like a painting in fantasy.

There are numerous stories and legends on the Heike’s fleeing soldiers or drop-out soldiers (ochiudo) across Japan , which had been carried down by biwa hoshi (Japanese lute playing minstrels) over centuries. You will be surprised a variety of people living in broadly scattered areas claim that they are descendants of the Heike.






























The traditional Bugaku, ancient musical court dance has been handed down through the generations from the days of the Heike clan. Gagaku (elegant music), a court-music, is the oldest type of Japanese traditional music. When gagaku is an accompaniment for the dance, it is called bugaku, dance music. Nearly ten centuries back the Heike clan must have watched the bugaku on the very stage of Itsukushima shrine. Bugaku originates from China and Korea . Sahomai, left side dance (Chinese), uses red coloured costumes, and Uhomai, the right side dance (Korean), green coloured. 










































































The Noh drama stage (butai) of Itsukushima is the only stage in the whole country that uniquely rests upon the sea. Normally the area under any Noh butai is hollow and buckets of water are placed beneath the stage to provide proper resonance for the dancers' stamping feet. Here at Miyajima, as the tide becomes higher the stage lies over water. Sacred Noh (Jin Noh) actors use the treasured shrine costumes.

























Copyright (C) : Kari Gröhn All rights reserved. 

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