O no Mai Wakasa


O no Mai (oo no mai 王の舞) dance of the king
'O-no Mai'

The 'Ono Mai' dance, held every April 8th at Uwase Jinja (Shrine) is designated as one of the nation's intangible folklore cultural assets.
It involves a lively ritual dance performed as a prayer to secure good harvests, bumper catches of fish and nation-wide peace.

More about festivals in Wakasa:
source : www.wakasa-mikatagoko.jp

source : www.town.fukui-wakasa.lg.jp


Uwase Shrine (宇波西神社), Mikata, on April 8th.
The dancer, who wore a red-faced and long-nosed mask (like Tengu) and dressed in red clothes, performed a valiant dance to wish a bumper harvest this year.

Water-spouting statue of cormorant in Temizuya
(手水舎, purification trough) at Uwase Jinja (宇波西神社).
Uwase Jinja enshrines Ugayafukiaezu-no-mikoto (鵜草葺不合尊, meaning "cormorant-rush-thatching-unfinished"), who is the father of Emperor Jinmu, and is originated in a folklore with a cormorant. Cormorant is a holy bird here.

- Shared by Taisaku Nogi -
Joys of Japan, 2012

- More photos on FB by Taisaku Nogi

. temizuya 手水舎 purification font, purification trough .

This dance is performed at many shrines in the Wakasa region. Probably its origin was a "Dragon King Dance" ryuuoo no mai 竜王の舞.
maybe people chased a wild oxen and put on a tengu mask to chase it.

The first dance is performed with long spears, and sometimes called
sanben kaeshi 三遍返し(さんべんかえし)
followed by
honmai 本舞 main dance
suzume odori 雀踊り(すずめおどり)dance of the starlings
nigirimeshi ニギリメシ "Nigiri rice balls"

Every shrine has its own unique version of the dance, which is performed at the Shrine Spring Festival. In Wakasa, this is the sign that spring has finally come.


Shrine Uwase Jinja 宇波西神社
Mikata, Wakasa 三方郡 若狭 
上瀬宮 (Kamise no miya)

Uwase shinji 宇波西神事 Uwase Shinto ritual

source : fujun/archives

This shrine was one of the most important along the Hokuriku coast of Japan.
The customs came from Hyuuga in Miyazaki 日向(宮崎県), here called Hiruga 日向(ひるが) around 701. On the 8th day of the third lunar month, each home was purified (yagitoo やぎとう) by a Shinto ritual, complete with Dengaku dance and food offerings.
(This is now celebrated on April 8.)

In the village of Hiruga, once the fisherman Rokuro-Uemon 六郎右衛門 was visited by a cormorant, who asked him to help a princess at the bottom of the sea. At the bottom he found a sword, which be brought to his home and prayed to it on his Shinto house altar. Then in his dream the deity Ugayafukiaezu appeared and ordered him to build a shrine and pray to him at Kamise 上瀬. This is the old name of Uwase shrine.

Deitiy in residence

鵜草葺不合尊 Ugayafukiaezu no mikoto
father of Jinmu Tenno 神武天皇

Other names: Hikonagisatake ugayafukiaezu no mikoto(Kojiki)

The son of Hohodemi (Ninigi's son) and Toyotamabime (Watatsumi's daughter); the father of Emperor Jinmu.
Ugayafukiaezu's name ("cormorant-rush-thatching-unfinished") is associated with the events of his birth; according to an "alternate writing" related by Nihongi, the name was given by his mother Toyotamabime.
As an offspring of the imperial grandchild by a sea goddess, he was born within a parturition hut built beside the seashore. But his mother's labor began before the parturition hut was fully thatched with cormorant feathers, and Toyotamabime was seen in labor by Ninigi.
In humiliation, Toyotamabime wrapped the newborn child in grass, and abandoned him by the seashore, where he was found and raised by Toyotamabime's sister Tamayoribime. (Tamayori hime)

According to another "alternate writing" of Nihongi, Toyotamabime could not bring herself to abandon the child, and took him up and returned with him to her palace in the sea. Since she felt it unfit that an offspring of the Heavenly Grandchild be raised within the sea, however, she gave him to her sister Tamayoribime to be taken to the land.
Ugayafukiaezu later married his aunt Tamayoribime and fathered the kami Itsuse no mikoto, Inahi no mikoto, Mikenu no mikoto, and
Kamuyamatoiwarebiko (Emperor Jinmu)
source : Mori Mizue, Kokugakuin 2005

. Tamayori Hime from Yoshino Mikumari Jinja .

. Samekawa Ablutions (Samekawa misogi ) .
佐女川神社(さめがわじんじゃ) Shrine Samegawa Jinja
Tamayori hime no mikoto 玉依姫命(たまよりひめのみこと)

Things found on the way


Related words

. U 鵜(う)cormorant .
The cormorant is the sacred animal of the deity
鵜草葺不合尊 Ugayafukiaezu no mikoto

. The Dragon Art Gallery – 2012 .

***** . Japan - Shrines and Temples .

. Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 

BACK : Top of this Saijiki





Anonymous said...

Wow that red/orange outfit!
Never seen that before.


Gabi Greve said...

"Oikemono Jinji (オイケモノ神事)"
Kamo Jinja Kamisha (加茂神社上社) in Wakasa, Fukui.


Gabi Greve said...

Tengu 天狗と伝説 - 福井県 Legends about Tengu in Fukui