Adachi-ga-hara (Kurozuka)

adachi-ga-haraThe kagura story of Adachi-ga-hara [安達ヶ原] comes from a Noh play based on the legend of an inn at Kurozuka [黒塚] (another name the play goes by) in the Touhoku region run by your worst nightmare of a landlord – a demon which would take the form of old woman and prey on travelers during the night.

In the kagura play the demon takes the form of a white fox with nine-tails which indicate great age and power. Disguised as a pregnant maiden the fox offers a traveling high priest of a Buddhist temple and his mountain guide shelter for the night. The fox strikes after dark and devours the guide. The priest, however, manages to escape. A pair of warriors are sent to slay the demon by the Emperor, and, after a dramatic battle, this they do with the help of a white bow sent from heaven.

In his book An Invitation To Kagura, David Petersen says that there is quite a lot of variation in the way different troupes portray the final battle, with some going for a borderline comic chase of the fox up and down the aisles. The other extreme is the defeat of the demon by the priest, rather than by warriors, through the power of prayer alone.

Adachi-ga-hara performed by the Yoshiwa Kagura Troupe

 

Paul Walsh

Paul arrived in Hiroshima "for a few months" back in 1996. He is the co-founder of GetHiroshima.com and loves running in the mountains.

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