Joint Research Projects

Research Group 3-1. Comparative Study of Asian Ritual Performing Arts



The Shibusawa films held by the Institute for the Study of Japanese Folk Culture(ISJFC) include footage of the Okumikawa Hanamatsuri festival at Nakazai house. Also, under the 21st Century COE Program “Systematization of Nonwritten Cultural Materials for the Study of Human Societies,” the researchers of Group 2, “Arrangement and Systematization of Physical Techniques and Sensibility,” used motion capture to record the movements of the same Hanamatsuri festival at Futto, as well as the Nuo dance (Jiangxi Province, China) and Noh (Kanze school), in an attempt to quantify physical techniques. Based on these existing materials and studies on Japanese and Chinese ritual performing arts at the Institute for the Study of Japanese Folk Culture, we will further advance this work by carrying out comparative studies of ritual performing arts in Asia.

Asian ritual performing arts are characterized by, among other things, their continuing transmission while maintaining rural and magical aspects, and the fusion of these aspects with the variegated performances of actors trained on the ritual ceremonial stage. The main topics of this research project will be the contents of year-end/New Year and Bon rituals and comparison of performing arts enacted on these occasions. Detailed topics will include rituals of villages, temples, and shrines at the turn of the year; the nature of performances as religious offerings on these occasions; associated aspects of Buddhist, Taoism, and shamanistic folk beliefs; the ritual nature of Chinese local drama; magical forms of physical expression such as steps and turns; the divinity of supernatural costumed figures such as the demon and the old man; the genesis of urban dramatic arts; the state of preservation and transmission; and issues related to World Culture Heritage listing.

Together with a core group of Japanese researchers, specialists in the ritual performing arts of regions including Korea, China, and Taiwan will also be involved in the joint project, thus making it possible to lay the foundations for the integrated comparative study of Asian ritual performing arts. It is hoped that this will open the way for study of the history of East Asian performing arts, an area which as yet remains undeveloped.

  Name Specialty Affiliation
PL NOMURA Shinichi Asian Ritual Performing Arts Keio University
DL HIROTA Ritsuko Chinese folklore Kanagawa University
PM HOSHINO Hiroshi Folklore National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo
PM MARUYAMA Hiroshi Taiwanese Ritual Ceremony
Study of Taoism
University of Tsukuba
PM MINAGAWA Koichi Ethnomusicology Kanda University of International Studies
PM OGAWA Naoyuki Folklore Kokugakuin University
PM SAIGO Yufuko The study of Japanese drama Musashino Art University
PM SASAHARA Ryoji Folklore National Museum of Ethnology
PM SUZUKI Masataka Cultural anthropology Keio University
PM YOSHINO Akira Social Anthropology Tokyo Gakugei University
RC HSIEH Tsung Hui The study of Taoism National Taiwan Normal University
RC JOEN Kyung Wook Folklore Korea University
RC KIM Yon Gui Folklore Chonnam National University
RC LEE Kyung Yup Folklore Mokpo National University
RC MA Jian Hua Folk drama Fujian Institute of Art
RC TAO Si Yan Folklore Southeast University
RC YU Daxi The study of Nuo Culture Jiangxi Provincial Federation of Literary and Art Circles
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MEXT Approved Joint Use / Research Center

Kanagawa University
International Center for Folk Culture Studies