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Composition

Schedule, Program

Schedule
The dancing schedule of Tsuwano Bon Dancing is presently during the Bon season of the solar calendar. The dance is decided to begin on August 10, and they never dance before this date.
Thereafter, it is danced in various places in town until around August 16.
The climax is Bon Dancing rally in Tono-cho which is held in the night of August 15.
(The above are information from "Tsuwano Odori no yurai to odorikata (The origin of Tsuwano Dancing and how to dance it) edited by Tsuwano Bon Dancing Conservation Party)
Also, according to "Sagimai to Tsuwano Odori (Egret Dance and Tsuwano Dancing)", written by Iwao Yatomi, memorial dance follows the Bon Dancing rally on August 16 in various parts of the town.
Program
The night of Bon Dancing rally on August 15 starts from around 8 PM and ends around 9 PM.
When they begin to play the musical accompaniments, the dancers of the Conservation Party with unique costumes take the lead at first and form a dancing circle along the street of Tono-cho.
One by one, local people and children clad in yukata join the circle and the dancing circle starts to become flamboyant. While the dance went on, there were announcements from the Conservation Party to the tourists, not to be shy and join the dancing circle.
After the end of the dance, there is a lottery rally for the prize for participation in front of the gate of the Youroukan-ato (the remains of Youroukan).

Location of dance

The start of the dance on August 10 is held in Kannon doh (Kannon temple) in the remains of Shintyoyukimori temple. The street in front of the temple is set as a dancing venue, and they assemble a scaffold using the 2nd floor that faces the street. The dancers dance while passing through this scaffold.

Customs to start the Bon Dancing by visiting a Kannon temple, holding twigs of a willow, on the night of July 10 of the lunar calendar is called "Sen-nichi Mairi (Visit a temple for a thousand days)"("Yanagi Mairi (Willow visiting)"), and it can be seen from the Edo Era. Kannon dou is the Yuhen An (Yuhen Hermitage) located in the grounds of Yukimori temple which was built in the beginning of the Edo Era to pray to the Buddha for the repose of the soul of Yukimori Shikanosuke Yamanaka, one of the warlords of the Amako Family. There is an oral tradition saying that Saburoemon Nomura (Yuhen) traveled across Japan shouldering Hijiri Kannon which is the principal image of Buddha in this temple. It can be considered that the place was a bastion of a kind of belief to the spirits and folk belief. "The willow twig" can be thought as a kind of anchorage of the spirits, and in Nichihara-cho Kanoashi County, there is a folkway called Sen-nichi Mairi that people visit Kannon doh holding willow twigs in their hands on the early morning of July 10.
In Tsuwano today, people donft visit the temple with willow twigs in their hands any more, but the custom of starting the dance from the Kannon doh is decidedly handed down.
The Bon Dancing Rally on August 15 is held in the street of Tono-cho, the main street of the town of Tsuwano.
In Tono-cho, ancient architectures such as remains of "Yohroh kan" which is the former building of state school (presently, folk village), town office, the gate of the residence of chief retainer of the Tago Family stand in a row, and walls covered with square tiles jointed with raised plaster goes along the way. It is a beautiful street that in the canal along the road, flowers of iris bloom and varicolored carp are teaming. It is lit up with soft lights and illumination of lanterns in the night. The white dressing costume looks very attractive in the light.


Tonocho bon dancing
Facilities

Ondo Yagura (The scaffold which the chorus leaders take position)
The Ondo Yagura is set up in a corner of the town office which is close to the dancing venue.
They build pillars on four sides and they assemble a scaffold with the size of 3 meters square and 2 meters high. They set up a box in the center of the pillars and accompanists (samisen, flute, drums, and chorus leaders) climb up here and play the musical accompaniment.
They pitch up a tent in the upper part and hang lanterns in all sides.
In the old times, they made the four pillars by piling up the mortars, and made up a scaffold by laying planks over the pillar.

Ondo Yagura
Lantern
Tono-cho, which is the venue of Bon Dancing Rally, is surrounded with lanterns. Yotsume Mon (Four eyed crest) is entered in the lanterns (see the picture in the right) just same way as the dancersf costumes.


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