Kiyari & Hashigo-nori: Japanese traditional performance art

Today I would like to introduce you to one of the Japanese traditional performance arts called “Kiyari (song for carrying heavy logs)” and “Hashigo-nori (acrobatic performances on a ladder)”. These performances have been preserved and performed in many places of Japan. From the below link, you can watch a video that I took at a fire drill in Kawaguchi City, Saitama in Japan on November 22, 2015.

“Kiyari” meant to bring logs and stones, and those who worked on it sang songs called “Kiyari-uta”. In the Edo period (1603-1868), scaffolding builders who were dealing with fighting fires as well as construction works – because at that time, they stopped fires by breaking  down flammable wooden houses – came to hand down these songs together with “Hashigo-nori” and “Matoi-furi (moving a decorated pole – you can see it at the beginning of the video)”.

Hiroshige hikeshi.jpg
Hiroshige hikeshi” by 歌川広重 – 国立国会図書館 寄別7-1-2-4. Licensed under パブリック・ドメイン via Wikipedia.

Nowadays, they usually perform “Kiyari” on special occasions such as the New Year’s parade of fire brigades and topping out ceremonies.

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