Kyoto Shimbun 2013.7.5 News

Chigo Dances for Safety
"Kippu-iri" Opening Ceremony of Naginata Hoko Float

The "Kippu-iri" opening Shinto ceremony of the Naginata Hoko, which leads the Gion Festival's "Yamahoko" float procession, was held at the Naginata Hoko community hall in Shijo-dori Karasuma-higashi-iru, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, on July 5. This year's "Chigo," or sacred child, performed the "Taihei-no-mai" dance, which will be performed on the float on the day of the procession.

Approximately 60 people, including board members of the "Naginata Hoko Hozonkai," or preservation group of the Gion Festival Naginata Hoko float, and the float's "Hayashi-kata," or festival musicians, attended the ceremony. The "Kippu," or talisman, with the names of Daisuke Shirai, age 10 and this year's Chigo, and Yushi Yamashiro and Shinichiro Uno, ages 9 and 8, respectively, and serving as "Kamuro," or child-ministrants, was offered to the Shinto altar and they prayed for the safety of the festival.

Surrounded by the sounds of Gion Festival music, the three boys, wearing white makeup and vermillion lipstick, lined up at the second floor window of the community hall facing Shijo-dori Street. As the Chigo, wearing gorgeous long-sleeved kimono and "Cho-tombo-no-Kanmuri," a headdress ornamented with peacock plumes on his head, spread his arms and leaned his body far out of the window with the music, the watching town residents erupted into applause.

(translated by Galileo, Inc.)

Photo= Daisuke Shirai (center), this year's Chigo, performs the "Taihei-no-mai" dance together with the two Kamuro (July 5, Naginata Hoko Town Hall, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto)