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I comment on Biccyu Kagura for a visitor from a foreign country.

Bichu Kagura commentary pamphlet


Bichu Kagura commentary

 1  Summary  概要
 備中神楽(Biccyu Kagura)

"Biccyu Kagura" is a noh dance played in a farm village of Biccyu district of Okayama.


"Biccyu Kagura" is primitive faith.


There is Koujin Festival as an event to quiet a heart of God (Koujin) causing a storm or a disease. Bicchu noh dance is held as a requiem event there.


"Biccyu Kagura" was handed down as a folk entertainment. During the long time, "Their faith in God" was combined with "an entertainment". Now "Biccyu Kagura" is the folk art which is indispensable to autumn festivals.


"Biccyu Kagura" includes three programs called "Jindai Kagura".


About 200 years ago, Kokkyou Nisibayasi chose 3 episodes from the mythical history books about the birth of Japan (Kojiki and Nihonsyoki). He dramatized them afterwards. It is Composed of 3 episodes, "Amano iwato biraki" (Opening the Gate of Celestial Rock) "Kuniyuzuri" (Transfer of a country) "Orotitaiji" (big snake extermination). The drama became a high level of noh dance with variety of entertaiment. That is "Jindai Kagura". Kokkyou Nisibayasi was born in Nariwa Okayama. He was a scholar of ancient Japanese thought and culture, and was also Shinto priesthood.


Biccyuu Kagura is appointed to "an important intagible cultural asset. No. 2 by Okayama prefecture. in 1956.


And in February,1979. It was appointed by the nation.
 2  Guidance dance  導き舞い

Guidance dance is one to explain an origin of "Sarudahiko no mikoto". Basics of the dance of Biccyuu Kagura.


This is the God who led a party of Gods at the crossroad when Gods are in the middle of falling on ground. The God is written in Nihonsyoki as follows. A nose is long and eyes are red and shine like a ground cherry.
 3  Dancing of "Sarudahiko no mikoto" 猿田彦の命の舞

This dance is done at the beginning of Kagura. This God is called God of "Saki barai"which means to remove dirt of the road, Stepping ahead.


Sarudahiko uses a Japanese sword or a spear to every direction and cuts the air and tears the air in the dance (Mai)

The Mai has a meaning to remove misfortune and a disaster.


As the van of beginning Kagura, Sarudahiko cleanse the staff and the performers and the stage.


Furthermore, Sarudahiko cleanses the audiences.


A figure of this God is as follows. He puts on a red armor with a design of gold and silver on the red groundwork. This God puts an a high-bridged nose mask on the face. And he is covered with white hair. He puts on a hakama to a lower part of the body. And he places a sword in a waist. And he holds a folding fan in both hands.
 4  Open the Gate of Celestial Rock 天の岩戸開き

 The Sun-Goddess was angry at evildoing of younger brother God "Susano no mikoto".She was covered to Gate of Celestial Rock(the Iwato). And the nature becomes darkness.


Various Gods, thinking out aplan, gather in the place called "Ama no yasugawara". This story begins from that scene, because she has been hidden behind the Iwato.

"Amenokyane no mikoto" and "Ameno futodama no mikoto" appear. "Omoigane no mikoto" of an mask of an old man summoned by two people appears afterwards. This is the God of knowledge and virtue of good sense. He comes up with an idea to let the Sun-Goddess go out from the Iwato.
   次は天鈿女の命。早い調子の太鼓に合わせて大きな動きで舞い踊る。手には扇子と鈴を持ち、サンヤー サンヤーの囃子で軽やかに舞う。

"Amenouzume no mikoto" appears in next. I dance by big movement to a drum of early condition, and she dances it. She holds a folding fan and a bell in a hand. She dances to a shout of "sanya sanya" lightly.

 "Tatikarao no mikoto" of God of great physical strength appears next. He pulls out the large curtain to show the Iwato. Then the Sun-Goddess with a mirror is sitting down. "Amenouzume no mikoto" takes the mirror of the Sun-Goddess then. The Iwato faller.


Various gods dance happily and the curtain is fallen.
 5  Abdication 国譲り

Gods of "Futunusi no mikoto" and "Takemikaduti no mikoto" appear to "Ookuninusi no mikoto", the King who governs the Izumo Country.


Both God came over for an advice to hand over a country as an Imperial envoy of the Sun-Goddess. The negotiations of Ookuninusi no mikoto and the both of Gods break down, but "Inasehagi no mikoto" appears and arbitrates this.

 As a result of the negotiation, a decision of handing over the country is entrusted to "Kotosironusi no mikoto", a son of "Ookuninusi no mikoto." "Kotosironusi no mikoto" makes a proposal to "give aristocratic posterity the country", but "Takeminakata no mikoto", the other son feels indignant. "Takeminakata no mikoto" challenges to fight with both of Gods.

After a confused fight, "Takeminanokata no mikoto" surrenders because his power is less compaired with the power of the two gods.
 6  Large snake extermination 大蛇退治

 It is a story that "Susano no mikoto" who was expelled from "Takamagahara (Japanese Olympus)"of his wicked exterminates the large snake to save "Kusiinada hime".
As for "Susano no mikoto", the large snake is an enemy of a sister-in-law, He says "if you give Kusiinada hime to me, I promise to exterminate the large snake. The plan is next. I'm going to make much poisoned alcohol and serve it to the large snake. And I cut it down when the large snake gets drunk and sleeps."

 The latter half first program contains of a dance performed by "Matunoo myoujin", the God of Sake making.. This God puts on clown mask and is funny. And he comes out by the funny gestures. He performes, doing funny talks with a drum player.


And the climax is a decisive battle of "the large snake which went on the rampage on the stage" vs. "Susano no mikoto".


"Susano no mikoto" cuts off a neck of the large snake.The large snake was exterminated.


Furthermore, he finds a Sword from the body of a large snake, and he is to give to the Sun-Goddess it. And large snake extermination is over.
 7  Kibitu 吉備津

 It is the story that "Kibituhiko no mikoto" exterminates "Ura". "Ura" was the ogre who acted violently in a Biccyu country.
It is handed two arrows to him first by a princess of "Iwayama myoujin" of a master of a Biccyuu country.


"Kibituhiko no mikoto" dances violently that was full of power for a fight after the princess handed it an arrow.

A large curtain opens suddenly afterwards. "Ura" covered with ogre mask and black hair appears.


This battle continues for a long time. Two people fight with bow and arrow. A scene of looking for each other at each side of the river is a highlight, A roll of cotton cloth is unrolled and placed on the diagonal line to show a river.

 "Ura" surrendered at last. "Ura" offered "Kibituhiko no mikoto" a genealogy of a Kibi country. And "Kibituhiko no mikoto" danced a dance of joy.

the commentary site of the Bicchu noh dance for a smartphone

Smartphone Site

 I showed the commentary site of the Bicchu noh dance for a smartphone.
( Japanese /English )


備中神楽をこよなく愛する あなたへ