Origin of Iwami-Kagura

Origin of Iwami-Kagura

The origin of Iwami-Kagura is not very clear but believed to be in the early Edo period (17th and 19th centuries.)  But some local historians say it originated back in Muromachi period (14th and 15th centuries) when some local people may have created a new version of Kagura-Mai deriving from the old style of Kagura-Mai called Omoto-Kagura which has been designated as an intangible ethnic cultural heritage and still kept in its original form at Sakurae-town of Gotsu-city in Shimane prefecture.

Iwami-Kagura is a type of Kagura dance originated and evolved by the people of the Iwami district with dynamic drum-beating and nostalgic flute music, masks, and brilliant costumes. The people of Iwami made major creative contributions to Iwami-Kagura. The native characters are active during spring to fall harvesting time, yet very patient during severe winter months on mountainous areas with poor farming land.

Iwami-kagura became very popular after the 1970’s Osaka Exposition when a special tour performance took place at the exhibition site.