Three Lions Running Through The Burning Fire

Toyama Prefecture is famous as one of the foremost traditional place of Shishimai.

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“Shishimai” (Japanese lion dance) is the traditional Japanese performing arts, in which performers mimic a lion’s movements in a lion costume to festival music.

On September 2nd, hiwatari, a traditional fire-walking ritual, take place at Futakuchi Kumano-jinja Shrine in Imizu City, Toyama Prefecture as annual autumn festival.

Three lions and Mikoshi (portable shrines ) run through a burning fire after making a round of visits to the neighborhood.

This ritual is held twice a day (at evening, or at midnight) to remove Kegare (defilement or uncleanness).

Three lions and Mikoshi run through the precincts of a shrine by the brave men; an act of rushing for a burning fire exceeding 2 m in height is spectacular.

Shishimai for Toyama Prefecture are roughly divided into two types based on the number of performers: a Mukade type (means innumerable legs like a centipede) and a Futari-tati one (means four legs). As its name suggests, Futari-tati style of Shishimai is performed with two people. On the one hand, Mukade style of Shishimaiis performed with three or more persons at the same time, which is quite rare in Japan. (Photography by Crystal Ogata, Written by HIRO:P)

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