Bamba Dance is a folk dance performed every August during the Matsuri-Nobeoka (Nobeoka Festival) in Nobeoka, Miyazaki Prefecture.
Matsuri-Nobeoka is the largest summer festival in northern Miyazaki. In the Bamba-Sou-Odori (Whole Bamba Dance), more than 5,000 townspeople dance in a huge circle. The festivities also include a display of some 10,000 fireworks. This festival lasts for two exciting days.
The Bamba Dance is accompanied by narrative songs known as Kudokiuta, which feature long lyrics. The Bamba Dance seems to be a derivation of Bon festival dances held in each region of Nobeoka.
The lyrics of the songs for the Bamba Dance include many phrases from Kabuki and Joruri, which were very popular in the late Edo period. Therefore, the Bamba Dance is considered to have been popular in the late Edo period.
Indeed, the Bamba Dance has been enjoyed by people for a very long time.
Saitorisashi is a traditional dance that has been carried down over the ages in Tottori. Saitorisashi means the person who captures, or the act of capturing, a small bird, which was traditionally used by the nobility as bait in falconry.
A long time ago, people, who been granted the license or pardon to engage in saitorisashi, gained power and brought ruin to the land. It is said that the saitorisashi dance originated when ordinary folk, in order to oppose the tyranny of feudalism, started to dance and sing in a Kyogen style (a comical form of theater) at drinking parties and so on. Shortly after, the idea of saitorisashi changed, from capturing birds to 'capturing' a wife or happiness, and was passed down as a congratulatory kyogen.
The dance is performed by four or five people, all wearing happi coats and headbands, while holding the stick of Torimochi, and hanging a license of pardon on their waists. The humorous outfit, accompanied by the energetic singing and dancing, results in a very pleasant, and enjoyable atmosphere. Saitorisashi is an important traditional performing art, which has been passed down from the Edo period.
Nihon Buyo (Japanese dance) is a general term for traditional Japanese dance but which now includes Kabuki dancing, Kamigata dancing, new dancing, and so on.
People dance to songs or music, and the origin of Nihon Buyo is Kabuki dancing by Okuni in Izumo, a founder of Kabuki in the Edo period.
Kabuki dancing is performed as an independent play or during Kabuki drama. It is otherwise called Shosagoto and performed on a special stage. On the other hand, Kamikata dancing is mainly performed in a Japanese-style room, and it developed in the Kansai area of Japan.
New dancing began in the Taisho period. People can dance freely to music, such as schmaltzy Japanese ballads, folk songs and popular songs.
Nihon Buyo is not only a traditional art but it has taken in modern music flexibly and continues to develope even today.now.
Onogaku is a type of traditional performing art from Ono in Maetsuemachi, Hita, in Oita Prefecture.
Onogaku is said to have begun as a dedication or offering following a drought in 1331. It is also believed to have been performed to celebrate the birth of Hachimandai-Bosatsu (Buddhist god of protection, also known as Emperor Ojin). The exact origins, however, are still unknown.
It is believed that at first, Onogaku was performed as a dedication after drought, a period of rain or an epidemic, but its main purpose is said to be as a prayer for rain. In modern times, however, it is performed as a dedication to Uji-gami (the protective deity of a region) and Oimatsu-tenman-sha in order to wish for a good harvest of the five grains, as a cleansing of plagues and misfortune, and to celebrate the new emperor and his success to the throne. It is also designated as an intangible folk-cultural asset of Oita.
No certain date is fixed to hold Onogaku, but it is usually performed toward the end of October. More than 100 people parade and dance in Onogaku, creating an epic atmosphere that is absolutely gorgeous.
The Kanko Odori dance is performed during the Bon festival, at Ise, in Mie prefecture and surrounding areas. It is also known as the Shaguma Odori dance.
The Kanko Odori is basically a folk dance in which the dancers move and bang 'kanko' drums hanging from their chests. Their large and gorgeous headgear and decorations carried on their shoulders are the characteristic costumes of this elegant performance. 10 to 15 people form a circle in this Bon festival dance, which is carried out to commemorate ancestors.
There are two types of dance: one features the decorative headgear called 'shaguma'; the other features bamboo hats decorated with flowers and is an elegant dance. Shaguma is made from glued horsehair and is worn with a set of grass skirts, creating a beautiful and fascinating atmosphere.
The dancers in the Kanko Odori perform in parade, wearing white clothing, carrying the drums and banging them sometimes dancing energetically. The dance is very spectacular and dynamic.
Yotsudake is a musical instrument from Okinawa, used when performing the Ryukyu dance Chabirasai. Yotsudake, which means 'sorry' in Okinawan, is an instrument where the musician holds 4 pieces of bamboo in each hand and makes sounds by hitting them together. Bamboo is traditionally the sole material for this instrument, but more recently, musicians hold the bamboos in place on their fingers using rubber bands.
One of the dances in which the yotsudake is used is sometimes called the Yotsudake-odori. Many other beautiful dances by women also incorporate the yotsudake.
As mentioned before, 'yotsudake' in Okinawan means 'gomenkudasai' ('sorry'). The elegant dancing and lively sounds of the yotsudake, nicely exemplify the atmosphere and mood of Okinawa. Recently, the yotsudake has been used even in Kyoto, in a new dance called Kyoen-Sodefure, and is a good example of the Ryukyu culture spreading out into the mainland of Japan.
Eisa is a Bon odori dance held in Okinawa during the Bon festival according to the lunar calendar.
Eisa appears in mentions of Naha (Okinawa) in the 'Records of the Joseon Dynasty' in 1479. It is believed that Eisa had started somewhere around this period. One idea suggests that the word 'eisa' derives from one of the Ryukyu 'omorosaushi' songs; another suggests that it comes from from the call 'eisaa, eisaaa'. Neither suggestion is certain, however.
During Eisa, people walk to each house within their own 'shima' (area). This is called 'michi-jyunae' and happens especially after the 15th, after the 'miokuri'. However, there are places where they do 'michi-jyunae' during the three days of Bon festival, according to the lunar calendar.
Eisa mainly consists of taiko drums and dances. Strenuous dances are performed to the beat of the drums, alongside singing from the 'jiutai' chorus. The dozens of dancers moving in step to the taiko drums and the dynamism of the whole, is part of the great attraction of Eisa.
The Owara-Wind Bon festival is a traditional event that began 300 years ago in Yatsuo town, Toyama Prefecture. Men and women wearing straw hats, happi coats and summer cotton kimonos ('yukata') dance to emotional, lilting folk songs known as 'Occhuu owara bushi'. Instruments such as shamisen and Chinese fiddle are used.
There are various stories about the derivation of this festival. Of all of these, the 'Citizen Parade Theory' from 1702 is the most likely. It seems that some important documents were returned by landowners to the townspeople, who then joyfully paraded through the town for three days. This became part of the annual Bon ancestor rituals held around that time, merging with harvest festivals to become the Owara-Wind Bon Festival. It also corresponds to a time of year when typhoons are said to strike.
Every year during September 1-3, the town becomes alive with more than 300,000 visitors.