• Kennan Area
  • Traditional Arts・Festival

Tsukumi Sensu Dance

Photography/TAKEUCHI Yasunori

Exquisite Tradition

 Tsukumi is known as the “Town of White and Yellow,” for its rich limestone and mandarin orange. But during one night at the end of August, the town is filled with vibrant and gorgeous dancing, where not only citizens but also many visitors are welcomed to enjoy the excitement.

 This is the traditional performing arts called “Tsukumi Sensu (Fan) Dance,” a specialty of the town. The fan dance is a Bon-odori (dance during the Bon season) that captures the movement of Kyoto-style dance. The tradition is said to have begun about 450 years ago during the era of the Otomo clan, but Tsukumi is a place where Sourin passed, and is buried. Therefore they tend to say things originate from Sourin. It is told that the dance used to be dedicated for the warriors who passed away during the battles in Sengoku period, and the deceased peasants.

 The basic structure of the dance is to move forward in a row with elegant manners while turning a fan. The fan is to be held lightly with the right thumb and index finger, while twisting the wrist like drawing a number eight. But it’s not just twisting. There are moves like looking in a hand mirror, or as you are striking a pose.

 What stands out is that there are various actions including riding on a horse to go to a battle, pulling a bow, confronting enemies in all directions. Each and every one of these poses is said to have meaning and it shows that the dance was created during the Sengoku period. Yet all moves are gracious at the same time. They are stunning and gorgeous, but also depict the joy and sorrow of life.

 In the “Sensu Dance Competition,” each community group of the city, establishments, children’s committee, and more groups participate, centering on people of the dance preservation society and people who are recognized as “dancers” to represent the city.

 The singing voice “Yoyase, Yoyase” is quite impressive together with the shamisen, taiko drums, and shakuhachi, etc. In addition to Sensu dance, there will be Sankatsu and Tsukumi Ondo dance, as well as a beautiful singing performance by the choir group, Kashinomi Shounen Shoujo Gasshoudan (Kashinomi Boys and Girls Choir Group).

 It is a traditional dance that represents the entire Oita prefecture as well as Tsukumi, therefore the guest performance was made at “Yosakoi Festival” in Kochi, as well as overseas.

Citizens dancing gracefully while turning their fans. Establishments and children's committee in the city participate, centering on those selected as "dancers."