Five masks for Buddhist style sword dance were donated from a man in Hikoroichi town

By Kikki - Last updated: 金曜日, 5月 27, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

[From Ofunato city-my stricken home town]

-Great East Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Disaster-

Continuation of the story on ‘Urahama-Nenbutsu-Kenbai’ 

One of the folk entertainment groups in Ofunato city ‘Urahama-Nenbutsu-Kenbai’ suffered heavy damage from the East Japan Great Earthquake and Tsunami and lost all most all of tools and costumes for its performance. Mr. Sogo Hirayama (76) in Hikoroichi town brought five masks to them. These masks for the Buddhist style sword dance were handed over directly to Mr. Hirayama from a sculptor about 20 years ago. ‘Kenbai masks would be happy if they are used in performance.’ He was welling to give these five masks to the preservation groups in Urahama community in the city.  

The folk entertainment group in Urahama community, Sanriku town lost their ‘Denshokan’ rehearsal hall where all tools and costumes are stored from the East Japan Great Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster. They lost masks, drums, flutes, and costumes. Although, 8 pieces in 17 masks were found randomly later, a mask for main character ‘Sasara’ has been still missing. Mr. Hirayama heard of difficulty of the group and donated five masks, including ‘Sasara’ mask, to the folk entertainment group.

‘How these masks feel happy if they are used for performance than just being kept in my house.’ Mr. Hirayama said in smile. Mr. Tsutomu Furumizu, the chief of the preservation group, appreciated his donation. ‘These masks are very helpful for restoration of our sword dance.’

A various styles of Buddhist sword dances have been inherited in every community in Ofunato city other than in Urahama. In Hikoroichi town, ‘Itayo-Kataikari-Kenbai’ has been inherited but only for an first son as inheritor. Although, his elder brother Hanji had a right to inherited, and acted as a chief for preservation of the sword dance group in his community, Mr. Sogo Hirayama had no chance to perform it.

All five masks were handed over personally from the sculptor lived in Hikoroichi town. ‘This was really predestined.’ Mr. Hirayama was filled with deep emotion when he knew that lost masks once used in Urahama were also sculpted in Hikoroichi town. Although, these five masks are something different from original masks in Urahama masks, including their mustaches and looks, they will be used for scheduled performance in coming Bon Festival.

‘We don’t know how to thank you enough. If you like, we wish to perform our sword dance in your town someday.’ Mr. Furumizu plans to show their gratitude to him.


‘Itayo-Kataikari-Kenbai’ in Hikoroichi town

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