國學院大學
國學院大學デジタルミュージアム

Encyclopedia of Shinto

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カテゴリー1 5. Rites and Festivals
カテゴリー2 Performing Arts
Title
Text Deer dance. A folk ritual performance in which the dancers wear decorative deer heads with antlers. Thought to be a variation of the one-man shishimai (lion dance, also referred to as shishi-odori but written with different characters). The reading of the character for deer (shika, 鹿) as "shishi" derives from the fact that deer were called "kanoshishi." While deer may eat and destroy crops, they can also be beneficial to agriculture by feeding on pests. In any case, they are an animal intimately related to agriculture. In ancient times, deer bones were also used in divination. The basic form of shishi-odori entails a pair of "go-betweens" (nakadachi) representing a male and a female deer leading a group of eight or twelve dancers. The dancers weave around in a line and beat drums hung from their chests while they sing dance songs. There are also examples wherein the dance is performed by a group of three dancers. Shishi-odori can be found throughout Japan, but is most common in the Tōhoku region. The shishi-odori of Uwajima, Aichi Prefecture, is said to have been brought to the area when a branch of the Date family from Sendai domain was granted a fief there.
— Yonei Teruyoshi
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Shishi-odori