|The Heian Period|
- A dancer in "aozuri" (printed by green color) uniform, who
called Azumaasobi (Playing in the east.)
the dance accompanying traditional Japanese court music, which was
originated in Tang (China)and Kokuryo (Korea), progressed as an
entertainment in the Imperial Court. Naturally
it is gorgeous. On
the other hand, "kagura," sacred Shinto music and dance, which
had been developed from the traditional Tang music since the Nara Era,
is featured by simple, straight, sacred, clear, classical, high and
noble moral beauty. There
are "nincho mai", "kume mai", "Azuma Asobi",
etc. in "kagura." The "Azuma Asobi", shown in the
photo, is a popular dance of "Azuma no kuni (=country in the east"
to a study, in the time of The Emperor Ankan's reign (6th Century)
Governor Michimori made the dance artistically presenting that a
celestial nymph flew down at "Aritohama Beach" of "Suruga
no kuni (=the country of Suruga)." Since
the "kagura" begun to be performed at the extraordinary
festival of Kamo on November, 1 in Kanpyo, the period of the Emperor
Uta's reign, it has become the divine work dance and it has been played
at the festivals of many shrines in Japan. The
music accompanied by traditional Japanese Court dance is a large dance
and music suite which consists of "ichi uta (=the first song), "
"ni uta (=the second song)," "Suruga-uta", "motogome-uta",
and "oohire-uta." It is well known for it is played at the Aoi
Festival in Kyoto. Six
"kagura" dancers are backed up by the band of rhythm/vocal
section which consists of several players, a "wagon (=harp)"
player, a "hichiriki (=flageolet)", and a "koma-bue
(=flute)" player. There
are two kinds of dances: the "suruga-mai" dance and the "motogome-mai"
dance. They are decent dances with few motions.
the dancer's dress, "kazashi" is attached to "kenei no
kanmuri"(=crown). " (The musicians wear crowns with "suiei.")
the dancers wear "aozuri no ketteki no ho" with the patter of
bamboos, empress trees and pheasants; the width of the garment is one "haba
under the "ho" they wear "shitagasane" which bottom
is attached with "wasureo" (=string), and a "han-hiji
(=half-elbow)" and "hitoe (=unlined single kimono garment)"
are worn over all of them. In
modern times, under the "ho" with the "aozuri"
pattern of an empress trees and a pair of pheasants, the dancers came to
wear a "hakama" which is called "ue no hakama" of
which front cut is front-white "kiseigo" and the back color is
singers' "hakama" comes with no "aozuri" patterns on
(=stone belt) is the belt made of horn of the sixth rank for everyday
use of the sixth ranking, and a dark blue "hirao (=string)" is
attached to it. And the dancer carries a long sword of the sixth ranking
with a black japan-finished case. He
has "shikai" (=cloth shoes) on. "Aozuri
no ho" is the dress of pure abstinence, white and indigo blue in
there are variations by use, the typical print patterns are such as
grass, tree, butterfly, and bird. This
"ho" makes it a special feature to be attached with "aka-himo"
(=string) to the shoulder. This
thing is recorded in the chapter of the Emperor Nintoku and that of the
Emperor Yuryaku. of Kojiki, the legendary stories of Old Japan.
set to a common government official's specific vestments in a divine
work which is not conducted by the Shinto priests after the time of
Emperor Konin's reign. Since
the personnel of "omi" who served "Oname-sai"
(=festival) and "Niname-sai (=festival)" wore the uniform as a
mark, it was referred to as "omi-goromo (=costume for abstinence)."
are various kinds of forms.
The dancers and the musicians of "Azuma Asobi," service of "kagura" (=sacred Shinto music and dancing) usually wore "omi-goromo" of "ketteki no ho" form, too. Unlike private"omi-goromo" of the other government officials, the width of garment is one body piece. Generally this garment was called "aozuri no ho." The dancers made it the special feature to attach "aka-himo" (=red string) to the left shoulder for that of "omi-goromo" was attached to the right shoulder. This is probably for removing the right sleeve. The "beni-himo (=red braid)" consists of two bands, a red band and a "koki (=deep blue)" one. In modern times, the color was changed from original deep blue into black. The pattern of butterfly and bird is scattered to the surface of band, and it is worn from the shoulder forward and backward. The patterns of the "aozuri no ho" and "aozuri" are for singers and instrument playerseasy, and they differ from the ones for dancers.