Iwami Kagura -
Dancing for the Gods
Kagura is a form of dance-theatre literally meaning ‘entertaining the gods’. It originated as dance and music rituals based on Japanese mythology that were performed during Shinto religious ceremonies.
Stories told in kagura performances are mostly based on tales from the ‘Kojiki’, an ancient Japanese collection of myths, legends and semi-historical accounts often involving battles between gods and demons.
Kagura spread throughout Japan, giving birth to many forms of performance. Each region has enjoyed its own form of kagura for many generations. In Shimane Prefecture, western Japan, 'Iwami Kagura' is a local style of kagura known for its fast pace, colourful costumes and simple storylines drawn from Japanese mythology.
See kagura live in London at the Japan Matsuri in Trafalgar Square on Sunday 29 September. This offers a rare opportunity to experience the wonder of kagura in the heart of London. Japan Matsuri is the biggest annual celebration of Japanese culture in the UK. Entry is free, just drop in.
If you miss the kagura performance in Trafalgar Square, some to see the display of Iwami Kagura masks on this autumn in The Shop at Japan House London.