Iwami Kagura

Iwami Kagura
Otsu Kagura Troupe
A not to be missed rare opportunity to experience the wonder of ancient Shinto theatrical entertainment in the heart of London!
Kagura is a form of theatrical entertainment dedicated to the deities of Japanese mythology. Iwami Kagura itself is a form of kagura native to the Iwami region of Shimane Prefecture in Japan. It has history stretching back around 300 years and is performed mostly during the annual celebrations of shrines in the autumn, in dedication to the deities and to pray for an abundant harvest throughout the year. Travelling from Japan especially for Japan Matsuri, the Otsu Kagura Troupe, brought by the Japan Foundation, will be performing Orochi, in what promises to be the highlight of the festival!

The Story of Orochi (The Giant Serpent)
Susano’o, the male deity of the sea and storm, descended from heaven to the headwaters of Hii River in Izumo province and saw an elderly couple and their daughter grieving. They told him seven of their daughters had already been devoured year after year by an eight-headed and eight-tailed giant serpent named Orochi, and that Orochi was coming for their one last daughter, Princess Inada. The deity had no choice but to try to intervene to save the old couple’s final daughter….
The serpent signifies a flood and the story conveys the strife humans experience with natural disasters. The 17-meter-long serpent bodies are made of bamboo and Sekishu washi, a UNESCO-listed Japanese paper. In this most popular play of Iwami Kagura, the realistic movements of undulating serpents is a great spectacle; as though the world of Japanese mythology unfolds before the audience’s very eyes.