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Gokonomiya - Reisai
御香宮 例祭

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Genjoraku (還城楽)

Genjoraku is a magnificently costumed solo dance. This finding-a-snake dance refers to the Central Asian practice to eat snakes for medicinal purposes. It begins with the hunting of the snake and, after an attendant has brought out a sculptured coil of reptile, the dancer examines and manipulates it in a solo that picks up in speed and intensity as it continues in its abstract and mesmerizing way. Genjoraku is part of bugaku art which was secluded as pure court ceremonial after the rising military class developed its own forms of entertainment in the middle of the 12th century. What bugaku drew upon and refined were the folk music and dances of mainland Asia. Genjoraku is accompanied by the Korean-originated music, komagaku. Evidence of a distant Indian import can also be found in genjoraku, whose story about the exorcising of a snake can be traced to an ancient Vedic tale. Genjoraku was often used to celebrate the return of the emperor to the palace. The mask is one of the most complex bugaku masks with movable upper eyebrows & skull, mid-section including the eyes, and chin.