Encyclopedia of Shinto

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カテゴリー1: 5. Rites and Festivals
カテゴリー2: Performing Arts
Refers to the dance performed with gagaku accompaniment. Originally, it was thought that song and dance functioned not only to entertain humans, but also by being performed before the gods (kami) could soothe divine spirits (shinrei) and furthermore make manifest the communion between gods and humans. The origins of bugaku lie partly in such indigenous dances such as Yamatomai, Azuma-asobi, Kumemai and Gosechi-no-mai, and partly in gigaku, an imported pantomime form in which dancers wear masks. The latter is further broken down into Chinese (tōgaku) and Korean (komagaku) styles. Teachers (maishi) and students (maishō) were attached to the Department of Gagaku (gagakuryō) under the ritsuryō state. Those who performed mainly in the Chinese style were classified as sahō, while those who performed mainly in the Korean style were classified as uhō. The dancers who performed on ceremonial occasions were not necessarily limited to the official professionals attached to the Department of Gagaku. For example, records of a Goryō-e ceremony performed at the Shinsen-en gardens in 863 indicate that, in addition to dancers from the two sides of the Department of Gagaku, "children of imperial retainers and pages of aristocratic families" also danced to the accompaniment of gagaku. Earlier still, it is recorded that at the ceremony to consecrate the statue of the great Buddha (Daibutsu kaigan) at Tōdaiji in 752, the emperor and aristocracy performed various songs and dances, such as gosechi, kumemai, tatefushi, and hōko. Bugaku as performed today is broken down into plain dances (bun-no-mai), warrior dances (bu-no-mai), running dances (hashirimono), and children's dances (dōbu). There are special costumes that go with each piece, and masks and such props as halberds or staffs have been stipulated for some as well.
— Yonei Teruyoshi

Pronunciation in Japanese/用語音声