|Japanese Folk Dance|
|Written by Vanessa van Rensburg|
|Monday, 27 April 2009 15:04|
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Japanese Folk Dance
Japan has been ruled by many emperors, and in 1926, Emperor Showa ascended the throne. During that time, Japan reached their highest stage of militarism. In 1927 the Tanaka Memorandum was launched, wherein General Tanaka Geiichi planned to take over the whole world. Charlie Chaplin toured Japan in 1932 and in 1936, Japan and Adolf Hitler signed the Axis. In 1941, Japan started their own World War 2 but lost in 1945. Japan was also shaken when Emperor Hirohito denounced the belief of nearly two thousand years that his patriarch was the son of the Goddess of the Sun. In 1970, the last of the last samurai’s created havoc. In 1994 Japan finally admitted to unspeakable atrocities in the field of human rights in the past. In 2004, for the first time ever, the Prince (Naruhito) married someone with no royal ‘pedigree’ (Masako).
Dance is one of the earliest forms of communication, with an origin in Early Japan. The earliest record of Japanese dance is from mythological origin where The Sun Goddess Amaterasu is coaxed out of a cave by a dancing woman named Amenouzimenomikoto. Dance in ancient Japan was thought to be centered around the native Japanese religion. Shinto Dancing was used to pray and honour the gods.
Japanese folk performing arts include ceremonies, plays, music and dance and are performed by normal working people such as fisherman and farmers. These arts handed down from generation to generation came out of the daily lives of people in local communities. They can be seen in many Japanese festivals and popular events.
Dance is an integral part of the lives of Japanese people, whether as a participant or a spectator and much of the Japanese folk dance is based on the Shinto and Buddist faiths. Japanese folk dances, where the central theme is ‘wishing for something’, are taken from the Shinto dances. Folk dances centered on the ‘comforting of the dead spirits’are ideas found in Buddhist dances.
The Japanese dance form is different from ballet or any other western dance forms. Big steps such as jumps and leaps are believed to be “a desire to leave the earth, striving to reach heaven”. Japanese dances however consists of movements requiring bent knees and a low center of gravity, emphasizing being close to the ground, displaying the desire to remain in contact with earth… a constant source of energy.
|Last Updated on Monday, 27 April 2009 15:18|