Traditional performing art of Sado, “Tsuburosashi” is popular amongst many people regardless of age and gender. It is exactly a rare festival of Japan! Its dance is too dirty and you may feel you do not know where to look, but its rhythmic move absorbs your attention.
I will introduce traditional performing art “Tsuburosashi” which has been handed down to Hamochi district where is the southern part of Sado Island, Niigata prefecture. This is also designated as an intangible cultural asset of Niigata prefecture.
“Tsuburosashi” is one of Kagura, the sacred Shinto music and dance, that dedicates to the shrine praying for huge harvest and prosperity of descendants. There are two theories about this Kagura. The one is that about 400 to 500 years ago, a tea-server who served for the lord of Hamochi brought this Kagura back from Kyoto when he went there for training of tea ceremony. The other one is that he mastered it at an entertainment stall of Gion festival and brought it back. Depending on the shrine, the contents differ a bit. Such as there are some dance with lions or demons, but in common, “Tsuburosashi” who play male role, and “Sasarasuri “who play female role, appear in the dance.
What is Tsuburosashi?
The characters in Kagura is three, which are “Tsuburosashi”, “Sasarasuri” and “Zenidaiko”. “Tsuburo” of “Tsuburosashi” means the male organ and it is said that “Sashi” is converted from “Sasuru (to rub or stroke something)”. The setting of “Tsuburosashi” is a man of unequalled energy. Beautiful female role, “Sasarasuri” tempts “Tsuburosashi” while making noise by rubbing the bamboo sticks called Sasara. Then Zenidaiko, who is rich but ugly woman enters to the stage to tempts “Tsuburosashi” by shaking her bust and hip and make jingling sound of tambourine, Zenidaiko. She wears a hood on her head and cover her face because she is ugly.
About the strange festival “Tsuburosashi”
men. When there are performers who play the drums and flutes, there are about 10 people. The time of performance is about 10 minutes. With lively music performed by Japanese orchestra, “Tsuburosashi” moves a huge dildo humorously and start performing dance step while holding a dildo between his legs. Gradually “Tsuburosashi” start stroking a dildo, the movement of hands become smooths and a dildo moves like throbbing. When beautiful “Sasarasuri” and “Zenidaiko” who has beautiful body try to tempt him, a huge dildo between “Tsuburosashi”’s legs dance harder. Finally, he strokes a dildo hardly, and wipe “something” off its tip. He makes the gesture as if he is scattering it around for many times, and performance will be over.
He prays for huge harvest and prosperity of descendants and scatters “seeds”.
You can watch performance of “Tsuburosashi” at the event of Hamochi festival on June 15 every year. The location is in the square of Hamochi chamber of commerce. On the day of Hamochi festival, “Tsuburosashi” will stroll about the houses or stores in Hamochi district to entertain people until late at night.
Writer of this article