Sada Shin Noh, sacred dancing at Sada shrine, Shimane
Inscribed in 2011 (6.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
- Sada Shin Noh, sacred dancing at Sada shrine, Shimane
- © 2005 by Matsue City Board of Education
Sada Shin Noh comprises a series of ritual purification dances performed every year on 24 and 25 September at the Sada Shrine in Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture, Japan as part of the gozakae ritual of the changing of the rush mats. The dances are undertaken to purify new rush mats (goza), upon which the tutelary deities of the shrine will sit. The replacement of mats elicits their blessings for the community. Diverse types of dance are performed on a stage specially constructed within the shrine. In some, performers carry swords, holy wooden sticks and bells; in others, dancers wear masks depicting the faces of old men or deities and re-enact Japanese myths. During the gozamai ritual dance, performers hold the rush mats to purify them before they are offered to the deities. Singing, flute and drums accompany the dances, played by musicians sitting around the stage. People believe that Sada Shin Noh should be performed regularly in order to re-enact the power of the tutelary deities, and to guarantee a rich and peaceful future for the people, their families and the community. Sada Shin Noh is transmitted from generation to generation by the people of the community and is actively safeguarded by members of the Association for the Preservation of Sada Shin Noh.
Decision 6.COM 13.27
The Committee (…) decides that [this element] satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as follows:
- R.1: A ritual dance that takes place annually, Sada Shin Noh celebrates the relation between people and their deities, is passed on from generation to generation and is recognized by the community as part of its intangible cultural heritage;
- R.2: Inscription of Sada Shin Noh on the Representative List could contribute to the visibility and awareness of the intangible cultural heritage while helping to foster mutual understanding between communities practising similar traditions;
- R.3: Ongoing safeguarding measures focus on the performance of Sada Shin Noh in the shrine and include the presentation of rituals for school children, encouraging inter-generational transmission;
- R.4: The nomination has been elaborated with the participation of the communities and includes the free, prior and informed consent of the Association for the Preservation of Sada Shin Noh;
- R.5: With the participation and consent of the concerned associations, Sada Shin Noh was inscribed in 1976 as an Important Intangible Cultural Property on the national inventory maintained by the Agency for Cultural Affairs.
Inscribes Sada Shin Noh, sacred dancing at Sada shrine, Shimane on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
© 2009 by Shimane Prefectural Board of Education
These videos (and many more) can also be consulted through the UNESCO Archives Multimedia website