Sunday, July 30, 2017

Orochi Spectacular

Last night we went to Hamada to see the annual Orochi Spectacle. They close off the center crossroads in town and put on regular kagura and end with a unique version of Orochi


Most versions of Orochi don't show the start of the dance which depicts the second to last daughter being sacrificed to Orochi, the 8-headed serpent.


Then the hero Susano arrives. Usually he is alone but a second hero accompanied him in this version. My guess would be his son Isotakeru who according to one of the versions of the myth came with him from the Korean peninsula.


The parents of Kushinada, the last daughter, are instructed by Susano to prepare vats of sake which are then drugged so as to disable the serpents. In return for saving Kushinada from her fate she is given to Susano as a bride.


Then the Orochi arrives. Originally the dance only had a single dancer dressed as the serpent. Here in Iwami it was developed to include 8 serpents in the dance, though many shrine performances will only have four due to space and kagura group size limitations. What is unique about this performance is fully sixteen serpents take part.

2 comments:

  1. Fantastic performance.
    Could the mythical battle between Susano and Orochi reflect a clan war of pre-historic Japan?

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    Replies
    1. possibly, but more likely to do with the 8 rivers that flow into the Hi river and human sacrifice to said rivers. The sites mentioned in the myth would suggest it.

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