Kagura is a form of dancing and music performed at shrines.
After inviting gods to descend to Kamukura, they hold ceremonies with drum and flute music,
singing and dancing to solace and welcome them.
The origin of kagura could be found in a Japanese myth..
A long long time ago, after heaven and earth had been separated, a couple of deity
(Izanagi-no-mikoto and Izanami-no-mikoto)
gave birth to many gods and goddess.
Then, they gave birth to Amaterasu-oomikami, the sun goddess)
and ordered her to govern Takama-no-hara (the Plain of Heaven),
and Susanoo-no-mikoto to govern the sea.
Susanoo-no-mikoto, however, didn't like this situation and abandoned to govern the sea.
Then, he went to Takama-no-hara, and caused lots of tumults and troubles such as destroying rice fields,
uprooting trees and ruining holy buildings on the Plain of Heaven..
Amaterasu-oomikami implored him not to do such a terrible deed.
Finaly he threw a skinned horse into her Imihataya (weaving room) and girls working there died of shock.
It was Amaterasu-oomikami's pet horse.
Her heart was broken and sorrowed over his behavior and hid in the Heavenly Rock Cave called Ama-no-Iwato.
Then the world became very dark and governed by Tsukuyomi-no-mikoto, a god of night or darkness.
Yaoyorozu-no-kami (eight million deities) were scared so much because evil spirits act high-handedly.
They had a meeting and debated how to induce her to come out of Ama-no-Iwato cave.
They conceived a bright idea.
First they made a large mirror, called Yata-no-kagami (now it's in Ise Shrine), and hung it in front of the cave.
They also put many offerings such as a sword and cloth, and planted a tall tree decorated with gems.
Then, they made bonfires and played holy music.
Ame-no-uzume-no-mikoto (goddess of dance) performed dances cheerfully.
Her powerful dances produced a hearty laugh from deities.
Amaterasu-oomikami wondered what was going on outside of the cave
Then she opened the rock door slightly to peep outside.
A god made a huge mirror face to her catching her off her guard.
She was astound by it.
Tejikarao-no-mikoto, a god who has strong power, never missed this chance.
He grabbed the edge of the rock door and opened it, then he pulled Amaterasu-oomikami out from the cave.
Heaven and earth bright again !
Now you know that the origin of kagura is the dance and music performed
in front of the Heavenly Rock Cave.
Atsuta -Kagura has history of 1800 years.
|Kagura in Hamada C.