Yesterday was the first day of the annual Shirakami-san aki matsuri autumn festival at Shirakami Shrine in downtown Hiroshima city. As always the Sakabara Kagura Troupe [ja] put on a great show, performing three of the most popular tales from their repertoire.
I took the kids down and, after dropping ¥500 on a shooting game that would have involved warping the laws of physics to win, we carved out a space on the tatami matting laid out in front of the stage and enjoyed three performances.
First was the story of the mythical Jinmu, grandson of the Sun Godess Amaterasu, who defeated local clan leaders in what is now the Kansai region to form the province of Yamato. The kids loved the sparks that flew off as the swords of Jinmu and his retainer clashed with those of masked Nagasune bothers.
Next, all the children (and few parents too) moved up to edge of the stage to welcome cheery Ebisu, who hooked an empty can of Chuhai with his fishing rod, before throwing out treats into the audience and finally catching his beloved tai seabream.
Things wrapped up with crowd favorite, Yamata-no-orochi – the tale of the eight headed dragon. The Sakabara troupe provided some light relief during the sake making scene. The old lady puts the fact that seven of her daughters have been devoured by the dragon out of her mind by sampling a little too much of the brew and treating the audience to some ancient Japanese twerking. Of course after a hard fought batter against the fire breathing beasts, Susanoo the brother of the Sun Goddess, triumphs once more.
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The festival continues tonight when the Sakabara Kagura Troupe will be performing Ebisu, Jinrin and Yamata-no-orchi between about 7pm and 9:30pm. More details here.