Japanese Folk Dance

The Japanese folk performing arts include the ceremonies, plays, music, and dance of ordinary working people such as farmers and fishermen. Handed down from generation to generation, these arts originated in the daily rituals of people in local communities. They are celebrated in many Japanese festivals and popular events.

Among the Japanese people, dancing is an integral part of their lives, whether as a spectator or a participant. Early dances had as their origin- the expressing of a need; the purpose of the dance was to revere a God or spirit, to celebrate a good harvest, to pray for a good catch, or to drive away a demon. They strongly reflect the spirit and characteristic nature of each region. Each town has its own original folk dance and performs it at its own festivals each season.

Folk dances where the central theme is praying for earthly concerns (weather and good fortune) are primarily Shinto dances. Accordingly, those dances relating to the afterlife, in particular praying for ones dead ancestors, are Buddhist in origin.

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