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80115-0037 - Japanese New Year Celebrations

Kobe, 1906
New Year Celebrations 13

Artist Kozaburo Tamamura
Publisher Kozaburo Tamamura
Medium Collotype Print
Period Meiji
Location Kobe
Image No. 80115-0037
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Author

Several men perform a shishi-mai lion dance in the courtyard of a shrine. The performers would also dance in front of the homes of the parishioners as a charm against evil spirits and disease, and to pray for good fortune.

Shishi-mai probably entered Japan around the 8th century after Japanese diplomats and priests encountered them in China. They are still performed today and it is believed that some 9,000 different variations of shishi-mai exist.

This image is part of The New Year in Japan, a book published by Kobe-based photographer Kozaburo Tamamura in 1906. Original text1:

To the accompaniment of a flute and a drum, the ‘lion dance,’ is being given; but the “lion” is a two-legged one, somewhat weaker than the “King of the forest.”

In this 2008 clip of a New Year’s lion dance at the Kanda Myoujin temple in Tokyo, the lion hands out tangerines using its mouth:

See all New Year images on Old Photos of Japan.

Notes

1 Tamamura, Kozaburo (1906). The New Year in Japan. Tamamura Shashinkan.

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Reference for Citations

Duits, Kjeld (). Kobe, 1906: New Year Celebrations 13, OLD PHOTOS of JAPAN. Retrieved on October 1, 2022 (GMT) from https://www.oldphotosjapan.com/photos/670/new-year-celebrations-13

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