Deer Dance

Deer dance is also known as Shishi Odori and Shika Odori. Theories of its origin range from the holding of a memorial service for hunted deer, an imitation game of mountain deer, offering by the Kasuga Grand Shrine and many others. This dance is performed during the Lantern Festival and Autumn Festival with the dancer wearing a bizarre deer head mask. In Iwate, there are 2 types of Deer Dance, the "Drum Dancing Style" and the "Curtain Dancing Style". The former is performed by dancers holding drums and is passed on to the former Sendai Domain of Iwate's southern area while the latter is performed without drums and is passed on to the former Morioka Domain with Tono City as its southernmost area. The "Drum Dancing Style" is further divided into many schools such as "Gyouzan School" and Kanatsu School" which uses genuine deer horn. In the "Curtain Dancing Style", wooden horns are usually used but in the Sugenokubo Deer Dance of Tanohata Village, head mask imitating a deer's head is used.