アワオドリ キゲンセツ ニツイテ
A STUDY ON THE ORIGIN OF THE AWA DANCE
Nakamura, Hisako Faculty of Integrated Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokushima Tokushima University Educator and Researcher Directory KAKEN Search Researchers
Japanese folk dance
Departmental Bulletin Paper
In this study，the origin of the Awa Dance is examined by comparing the existing
theories. Books and articles concerning these theories have been collected and are
examined as summarized below.
1) The theory ascribing the origin to Shoryo Odori，a religious event observed during
the Obon period to comfort the spirits of the deceased. This has been supported by
many historians and folklorists.
2)The theory ascribing the origin to the celebration for the construction of the new
castle. It states that，to celebrate the completion of the new castle，the first lord of the
Awa Clan allowed townspeople of the precinct a free and easy night on which the dance
was first performed. This is a widely acknowledged theory，but historians deny it，
considering the situations at that time in detail.
3)The theory ascribing the origin to thanksgiving for harvesting crops. This theory
says that the dance is to express the gratitude of the common people living on cereals
for successful crops， and that the dance imitates actions for driving away harmful
animals. Opinions in a similar vein，however，have not been proposed.
4) The theory ascribing the origin to Huryu Odori，popular around the end of the
Age of Provincial Wars.This theory states that the forms and shapes of Bon Odori
described in Kasugasaiki (Festival Records of the Kasuga Shrine) and those of Huryu
Odori described in Miyoshiki (Chronicle of the Miyoshi Clan) are quite similar，and
concludes that the Awa Dance originates from Huryu Odori. Although the forms and
shapes of the dances described in Miyoshiki and Kasugasaiki are quite alike， Bon
Odori described in Kasugasaiki is classified as kumiodori，not zomeki，the type of the
present Awa Dance. Therefore，Huryu Odori cannot be considered as the origin of
the Awa Dance.
5)The theory relating the origin to the spread along the Black (Japan) Current.
This theory is based on the fact that many dances similar to the Awa Dance are found
in Okinawa，Amami and Kagoshima Prefecture and says that the Awa Dance originates
from the dances in fashion at the southern ports. But this theory itself was withdrawn
by the theorist himself because of the differences of dancing rhythms. The southern
rhythm is based on one beat， while the Awa Dance is based upon the so-called
"Bon-ashi，" two beat rhythm.
6)The theory ascribing the origin to "Eejanaika，" a movement near the end of the
Edo Era. The fact that this movement also spread into Tokushima area and the
similarities of dancing forms and shapes led to this idea，bu t it can hardly be supported
since Bon Odori had been being performed in Tokushima area before the "Eejanaika"
In conclusion，the theory ascribing the origin to Shoryo Odori seems to be most
convincing because the Awa Dance had been called Bon Odori till the end of World
War II. More detailed investigation is being planned as to the theory relating the origin
to the spread through the Black Current，especially about musical accompaniment and
other similar dances. Regarding theories conceming Huryu Odori and Eejanaika, these
dances should have influenced the Awa Dance， but cannot be considered as being its
origin. The theory relating the origin to the construction of the new castle is considered
impossible as many historians point out. Similarly the theory ascribing the origin to
thanksgiving for harvesting crops is also untenable.
EID72988.pdf 1.03 MB
Integrated Arts and Sciences