Kyoto Shimbun 2014.7.5 News

Chigo Dances "Taihei-no-mai" Gracefully
"Kippu-iri" of Gion Festival's Naginata Hoko Float

On July 5, the "Kippu-iri" opening ritual of the Naginata Hoko float, which leads the Yamahoko procession of the Gion Festival, was held at the Naginata Hoko community hall in Shijo-dori Karasuma-higashi-iru, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto. 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.

At 3:00 p.m., a board member of the "Naginata Hoko Hozonkai," or preservation group of the Gion Festival Naginata Hoko float, offered the "Kippu," or talisman, with the names of Masato Hirai, age 9 and this year's Chigo, and Yoshiki Ishida and Yoshiharu Inoue, both 10-year-olds who serving as "Kamuro," or child-ministrants, to the Shinto altar and prayed for the safety of the festival. After that, the three boys lined up at the second floor window overlooking the Shijo-dori Street.

Surrounded by the sounds of Gion Festival music, Hirai wore a headdress ornamented with peacock feathers on his head and danced gracefully, as his long-sleeved kimono swayed. As he dynamically leaned out of the window, with his body supported by an adult stagehand, a shout of joy arose from the watching town residents.

(translated by Galileo, Inc.)

Photo= Masato Hirai (center) leans forward and performs the "Taihei-no-mai" dance with the two Kamuro (3:24 p.m., July 5, Naginata Hoko Town Hall, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto)