Hanadaue Event of Mibu (rice planting event)
Although the Geihoku region of Hiroshima Prefecture abounds with many
forms of traditional folk entertainment, the Hanadaue Event of Mibu is second
to none. It is a rice planting event complete with beautifully harnessed bulls,
saotome (rice planting maidens) in splashed-pattern kimono and sugegasa hats,
and master drummers. Performed in a paddy field, the Hanadaue portrays an
image right out of an old Japanese picture scroll.
The Hanadaue is also called dengaku or hayashida, which both roughly mean
"paddy field music event". It is believed that Hanadaue originated either as a
religious performance asking for a rich harvest or as entertainment to ease the
pains of hardworking farmers.
As rice farming has become mechanized over the last ten years, the number
of houses raising domestic cattle has decreased so much that it has become hard
to find sufficient bulls for the event. The massive bulls with fine coats are
particularly difficult to find these days. People even go all the way to Shimane
Prefecture to secure bulls.
"It never rains on the day of Hanadaue," as they say in Chiyoda. After
finishing their own rice planting, the local people leisurely get together at the
Hanadaue on a sunny, warm first Sunday in June.
Hanadaue takes its origin either from asking for a rich harvest or from entertaining farmers (Photograph taken circa 1994)
The 313 pieces of equipment (designated important tangible folk-cultural properties in Japan, 1959) used at a Hanadaue are housed for viewing in the high-floored storehouse in the Kawahigashi area.
On the day of the event, "Arita Kagura", a designated important intangible folk-cultural asset, and "Hanagasa Hat Dance" are also performed. "Arita Kagura" (sacred dance of Arita) features Yamata no Orochi (the eight headed monster python), Ama no Iwato (the rock door to heaven), and Kamioroshi (the welcoming ceremony for the god).