"Gagaku," the dance accompanying traditional Japanese court music, which was originated in Tang (China)and Kokuryo (Korea), progressed as an entertainment in the Imperial Court.

Naturally it is gorgeous.

On the other hand, "kagura," sacred Shinto music and dance, which had been developed from the traditional Tang music since the Nara Era, is featured by simple, straight, sacred, clear, classical, high and noble moral beauty.

There are "nincho mai", "kume mai", "Azuma Asobi", etc. in "kagura." The "Azuma Asobi", shown in the photo, is a popular dance of "Azuma no kuni (=country in the east" district.

According to a study, in the time of The Emperor Ankan's reign (6th Century) Governor Michimori made the dance artistically presenting that a celestial nymph flew down at "Aritohama Beach" of "Suruga no kuni (=the country of Suruga)."

Since the "kagura" begun to be performed at the extraordinary festival of Kamo on November, 1 in Kanpyo, the period of the Emperor Uta's reign, it has become the divine work dance and it has been played at the festivals of many shrines in Japan.

The music accompanied by traditional Japanese Court dance is a large dance and music suite which consists of "ichi uta (=the first song), " "ni uta (=the second song)," "Suruga-uta", "motogome-uta", and "oohire-uta." It is well known for it is played at the Aoi Festival in Kyoto.

Six "kagura" dancers are backed up by the band of rhythm/vocal section which consists of several players, a "wagon (=harp)" player, a "hichiriki (=flageolet)", and a "koma-bue (=flute)" player.

There are two kinds of dances: the "suruga-mai" dance and the "motogome-mai" dance. They are decent dances with few motions.

As for the dancer's dress, "kazashi" is attached to "kenei no kanmuri"(=crown). " (The musicians wear crowns with "suiei.")

Moreover, the dancers wear "aozuri no ketteki no ho" with the patter of bamboos, empress trees and pheasants; the width of the garment is one "haba (=body)."

Furthermore, under the "ho" they wear "shitagasane" which bottom is attached with "wasureo" (=string), and a "han-hiji (=half-elbow)" and "hitoe (=unlined single kimono garment)" are worn over all of them.

In modern times, under the "ho" with the "aozuri" pattern of an empress trees and a pair of pheasants, the dancers came to wear a "hakama" which is called "ue no hakama" of which front cut is front-white "kiseigo" and the back color is red.

The singers' "hakama" comes with no "aozuri" patterns on it.

"Sekitai" (=stone belt) is the belt made of horn of the sixth rank for everyday use of the sixth ranking, and a dark blue "hirao (=string)" is attached to it. And the dancer carries a long sword of the sixth ranking with a black japan-finished case.

He has "shikai" (=cloth shoes) on.

"Aozuri no ho" is the dress of pure abstinence, white and indigo blue in color.

Although there are variations by use, the typical print patterns are such as grass, tree, butterfly, and bird.

This "ho" makes it a special feature to be attached with "aka-himo" (=string) to the shoulder.

This thing is recorded in the chapter of the Emperor Nintoku and that of the Emperor Yuryaku. of Kojiki, the legendary stories of Old Japan.

It was set to a common government official's specific vestments in a divine work which is not conducted by the Shinto priests after the time of Emperor Konin's reign.

Since the personnel of "omi" who served "Oname-sai" (=festival) and "Niname-sai (=festival)" wore the uniform as a mark, it was referred to as "omi-goromo (=costume for abstinence)."

There are various kinds of forms.
The dancers and the musicians of "Azuma Asobi," service of "kagura" (=sacred Shinto music and dancing) usually wore "omi-goromo" of "ketteki no ho" form, too.

Unlike private"omi-goromo" of the other government officials, the width of garment is one body piece.

Generally this garment was called "aozuri no ho."

The dancers made it the special feature to attach "aka-himo" (=red string) to the left shoulder for that of "omi-goromo" was attached to the right shoulder.

This is probably for removing the right sleeve.

The "beni-himo (=red braid)" consists of two bands, a red band and a "koki (=deep blue)" one.

In modern times, the color was changed from original deep blue into black.

The pattern of butterfly and bird is scattered to the surface of band, and it is worn from the shoulder forward and backward.

The patterns of the "aozuri no ho" and "aozuri" are for singers and instrument playerseasy, and they differ from the ones for dancers.