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Sep. 22, 2011
Iwate’s Kuromori Kagura goes to Moscow (Oct. 2 – 3, 2011)
Performances of the folk art of Kuromori Kagura native to the city of Miyako in Japan’s Iwate Prefecture will be held in Moscow, Russia on Oct. 2 and 3. Miyako is one of the cities that was severely damaged during the great earthquake and tsunami of March 11, and being among the first overseas performances by performers from the stricken areas since the disaster, they will be the focus of much attention for the region’s recovery efforts.
Kuromori Kagura is a series of ritual dances originating at the Kuromori Shrine on Mt. Kuromori in the city of Miyako, and in 2006 it designated as Important Cultural Heritage by the Japanese government. It is one of Northeastern Japan’s most famous examples of the “Yamabushi Kagura” tradition the rituals and dances were performed by mountain warrior priests (yamabushi) in the Middle Ages as a means to spread the faith of Japan's ancient mountain worship. It is a tradition that continues to this day in the region from parts of Kuji city in north to parts of Kamaishi city in the south, with the performers making rounds of the towns by a southern route and a northern route once every other year over a period of two months to perform the rituals.
This year was the year for the southern route to be traveled by the performers beginning at Kuromori Shrine on the third day of the New Year and returning to the Shrine around the 16th of March. However, the disastrous quake and tsunami struck on the day before the scheduled performance at the town of Kirikiri on the 12th of March. Although the Kagura performers suffered no casualties, several of the members had their homes and fishing boats washed away by the tsunami. Now they have overcome these difficulties to make the coming overseas performances.
The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami received a lot of media coverage in Russia and immediately after the disaster Russia sent an unprecedentedly large team of 75 disaster relief specialists to Japan on March 13th. The currently planned Moscow performances of Kuromori Kagura resulted from a proposal by the Moscow interim office of the Japan Foundation as a project to communicate the determination of the people of the stricken areas to recover from the disaster while also presenting some of the indigenous culture of the northeastern coast area hit hardest by the tsunami.
The performances will be on two consecutive nights in Moscow. The organizers are the Japan Foundation and the Japanese Embassy in Russia. A Kagura troupe of 11 will perform the famous Kuromori Kagura dances Yama no Kammai, Ebisu Mai and Kiyoharai, and a film introducing the Kagura rituals with be shown.
+Performance Schedule
Oct. 2 (Sun.), 2011, 17:00 at the Zelenograd Palace of Culture in Moscow (part of the Folk Arts Festival)
Oct. 3 (Mon.), 2011, 19:00 at the Moscow Stanislavsky Theater
+Inquiries to:
Performing Arts Section, Arts and Cultural Department, The Japan Foundation
Tel. +81-(0)3-5369-6063 / Fax. +81-(0)3-5369-6038