Even though Akiotacho is a major center of kagura, the number of people in town joining kagura troupes had been going down, and there were concerns about the future of the troupes. Some of the members' children, however, told their parents that they wanted to perform kagura, too, and through the efforts of Kono Yoshihisa, the Hongo Children's Kagura Troupe was born. Kono is now the director of the group, which is affiliated with Ichinomiyaotoshi Shrine in the town's Hongo district.
The members of the Hongo Children's Kagura Troupe
Kono has experience performing kagura and even formed a club when he was in high school. After finishing school, Kono went to Osaka to work. There he borrowed costumes and instruments from various people and introduced Geihoku kagura to the people of Osaka. After returning to Akiotacho, he decided that this traditional art should be kept alive, and he took it upon himself to help expand interest around Japan.
This children's troupe currently has 25 members: 15 girls and 10 boys. Long ago, only men were allowed to perform kagura, but these days there are women actively joining adult kagura troupes, and there are even some troupes composed entirely of women.