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"Hotokemai (Buddhist dance) of Itosaki" inheriting 1,200-year-old tradition


Traditional Events

The "Hotokemai (Buddhist dance) of Itosaki" (National Important Intangible Property of Folk Culture), which has been continued for more than 1,260 years, was dedicated in the precincts of Itosakiji Temple in Fukui City on April 18th, 2019. The video is about the previous one. (From the YouTube channel: Fukui City Cultural Inheritance)


The Buddhist hymn is sung only by women associated with the local town.


"Corner keepers" with white masks were performed by two children and watched the dance at the corner of the stage.


"Praying Bodhisattvas" with gold masks received the gold buds of lotus flower and performed the dance sharing their joy.



According to the local preservation group, traditional events called "Buddhist dance" are seen across the country, but only Itosaki's Buddhist dance continues the series of ceremonies such as entrance and exit with unique steps. The dancers with black clerical garments and gold masks performed the traditional dance to the sound of drums and gongs. It was an elegant time under the falling cherry blossoms.


It is said that "Hotokemai (Buddhist dance) of Itosaki" began in 756, many Bodhisattvas appeared and expressed joy when a Thousand Armed Avalokiteshwara was placed in the temple. Today, the preservation group by local residents holds it on April 18th every two years. The dancers entered the stone stage to the ancient Japanese court music and danced slowly in a circle. The slow dance reminds us the graceful style of Buddha.

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