We know virtually nothing about Japanese dance at this time. It seems to be performed nore by girls and women, but we may be mistaken by this. Our information is very limited at this time. Hopefully our Japanese readers will provide us some information. We do notice boys involved in dance at some of the festivals. In particular we notice boys performing the traditional Lion Dance. It is not just for boys, but boys can be involved. It appears like so many Japanese traditins to be a fussion of Buddhist and Shinto beliefs. Elaborate costumes are involved.
We notice boys involved in dance at some of the festivals. In particular we notice boys performing the traditional Lion Dance. It is not just for boys, but boys can be involved. It appears like so many Japanese traditins to be a fussion of Buddhist and Shinto beliefs. Elaborate costumes are involved. The origins of the lion and the dance in Japan date back to the 7th-8th centuries. Some sources provide erlier dates. Lions of course are not native to Japan. Thus the lions depicted should be seen more in the sence of a mythical beast. These mythical lions seem to have originated in China and were imported in Japan thriugh Korea (7th-8th centuries). It is surely no accident that this is when Buddhism arrived in Japan. Shishi / Jishi) is normally translated as "lion," but it can also refer to a other animals (deer or dogs) with magical powers, especially the power to drive away evil spirits. A pair of shishi can often be found guarding Japanese Shinto shrines and some Buddhist temples. The Shishi are usually found in pairs, but with one having and open mouth sand the other a closed mouth. The lion dance is seen as helpful in evicting evil spirits who were responsible for most calamities and placating the gods. Traditionally the Japanese blamed demons and angry gods for earthquakes, tsunami, poor harvests, famine and epidemics. And people who respect and celebrate their gods might be protected. The lion dance not only features a lion, but an angry god wih a bright red face and shining golden eyes. The God is breathing fire through his nose and menancinly dis places his teath. Our brave lion frives off the evil spirits. But it is not all action. One source describes the basic dance routine, "The dance depicts an afternoon in the life of a lion where he runs around, cleans himself, eats fleas off of himself, eats some fruit, takes a nap, chases a butterfly, and then runs around some more.” This is, however, just one version. Tghere are many others. The Lion Dance developed into a traditional offering performed at Shinto festivals across Japan. Door-to-door lion-dance troupes also became a common sight at New Years.
We do not yet have information on other dances.
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