Nachi no Dengaku, a religious performing art held at the Nachi fire festival
Inscribed in 2012 (7.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
- Nachi no Dengaku, a religious performing art held at the Nachi fire festival
Nachi no Dengaku is a Japanese folk performing art with a deep connection to Kumano Sanzan, a sacred site in Nachisanku. It is performed on a stage inside Kumano Nachi Shrine during the annual Nachi Fire Festival, celebrated on 14 July. It is a key component of the festival and takes the form of ritual dancing to flute music and drums for an abundant harvest of rice crops. Nachi no Dengaku is performed by one flute player, four drummers with drums tied around their waists, four players of Binzasara, a musical string instrument, and two others. Eight to ten performers dance to the music in a variety of formations. There are 22 repertoires, each performed in 45 minutes. The dance is currently performed and transmitted by the Association for the Preservation of Nachi Dengaku, consisting of local residents of Nachisanku. Nachi no Dengaku is transmitted against a backdrop of a belief in Kumano Sanzan and its shrine. The local people and transmitters respect and worship the shrine as a source of mental and spiritual comfort.
Decision 7.COM 11.19
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: Transmitted from generation to generation, Nachi no Dengaku is performed as an essential ritual dancing for praying for an abundant harvest in the Nachi area and gives its community a sense of identity and continuity while promoting values of social and cultural cohesion and integration;
- R.2: Inscription of Nachi no Dengaku on the Representative List could contribute to greater visibility of the intangible cultural heritage and awareness of its significance, particularly as an example of effective transmission;
- R.3: Past and current efforts to safeguard the element have enjoyed the participation of and support by diverse stakeholders including the local and national authorities and the Association for the Preservation of Nachi Dengaku;
- R.4: Through the Association for the Preservation of Nachi Dengaku, Kumano Nachi Shrine and Wakayama Prefecture, the community of bearers has participated in all phases of the nomination process, and their representatives have provided free, prior and informed consent;
- R.5: Nachi no Dengaku has been designated since 1976 as Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property on the national inventory maintained by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, with cooperation from the relevant Preservation Association and local communities responsible for transmission.
Inscribes the Nachi no Dengaku, a religious performing art held at the Nachi fire festival on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
© 2008 by Association for the Preservation of Nachi Dengaku
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