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The heroes wearing tall hats and carrying fans and wands.


The curtain opens to reveal the villain.

The Hongo Children's Kagura Troupe has a repertoire of two performances: "Jinrin" and "Irukataiji." "Jinrin" is the story of an eight-headed monster that rides black clouds in the sky and is vanquished by the emperor. "Irukataiji" is based on a real event, the Taika Reform of the seventh century. Prince Naka no Oe and his retainers defeat Soga no Iruka, a leader who governed the country selfishly. Prince Naka no Oe then establishes a new political system for the country. This performance involves six maikata and nine hayashikata.

There are two types of dance in kagura: old dance, which has existed since long ago, and new dance, which involves modern choreography. Geihoku kagura features old dance, which means that there are many numbers in which the performers wear masks, and they never use makeup. The performer playing the role of the villain Iruka wears a demon mask, while his underling wears a scary gasso. The two performers playing the roles of heroes Fujiwara no Kamatari and Prince Naka no Oe wear tall hats typical of noblemen and carry folding fans and gohei (a wand decorated with paper streamers). The two brave heroes and the villains duel with large swords.


The villains wearing gasso


The hayashikata playing the kane (cymbals)

The troupe's stock of costumes includes only two jinbaori (a coat worn over armor), two katagiri (a kimono-like jacket), four hakama (loose trousers), four sets of clothes worn beneath the costumes, and ten gakubakama (a special hakama for the hayashikata). When other clothing is needed, it is borrowed from the adult troupe. Because adults were in the past smaller than they are today, the costumes can be worn by children with just a few alterations. The costumes are heavy, though. A child's costume weighs 4 kilograms (9 pounds), while an adult's costume weighs 8 kilograms (18 pounds). Because the children are strong and enthusiastic, though, they can handle the weight of the costumes. Compared with the number of members, the troupe does not have enough costumes and musical instruments, so the members take turns playing different roles. When there are not enough roles to go around, some of the children work the curtain and operate the sound equipment. Experiencing what goes on behind the scenes is a part of kagura, too.