Oni Kenbai is a traditional dance in the Kitakami area of Iwate.  “Onikenbai,” can roughly be translated as “Demon Dance with sword.” This local dance has enjoyed a long history dating back 1,300 years ago and has been performed by local people ever since. A typical performance requires performers to dance bravely and move their heads and waists vigorously with a sword and a fan in their hands. Each dance troupe consists of eight dancers. The leader wears a white mask and the other seven dancers wear green, red, and black ones. These four colors indicate the seasons and also depict Buddha (the wisdom king) as the one who saves people from demons. Therefore, it is said that the dancers represent Buddha and not actual demons. In 1993, it was designated as a national important intangible folk cultural property.



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