Nenbutsu-odori (念仏踊り)

Nenbutsu-odori is a kind of dance where the dancing and singing are performed by different people, and can be distinguished from odori nenbutsu which is performed by a single person who dances and chants a Buddhist sutra at the same time.

Its origin is believed to derive from the 'rain dance' held by SUGAWARA no Michizane over four years from 886 to 889 when he was kokushi (provincial governor) of Sanuki Province, and the dance danced by villagers to express their gratitude the following year still remains.

This dance became 'Nenbutsu-odori' after Honen, who had been exiled to Sanuki in 1207 due to a religious conflict, saw the dance and made them perform it while chanting 'nenbutsu' or the Buddhist sutra.

At the present day, the 'Takinomiya no Nenbutsu Odori' is still performed on August 25 in Takinomiya, Ayagawa-cho, Ayauta-gun, Kagawa Prefecture, and it is designated a National Important Intangible Property of Folk Culture as the root of 'nenbutsu-odori' which remain in many places throughout the country.

[Original Japanese]