Danjiri (decorative portable shrine, float used in festivals) (地車)

Danjiri is a type of dashi (float) or danjiri used at shrine festivals. It is a float with decorative carvings all around it and a unique form of gabled roof that is split into a small one and a large one.
It is seen at rites and festivals in areas such as Izumi Province, Kawachi Province and Settsu Province in the Kinki region
In particular, Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri in Kishiwada City, Osaka Prefecture is nationally famous. Like other danjiri, it is often written in hiragana, and it is considered that the Chinese characters used are phonetic equivalent characters. It is also written as dandiri in hiragana (Japanese syllabary characters).

Danjiri Matsuri (danjiri festivals)
This is a general term for festivals in which a dashi called danjiri is pulled, or for rites and festivals in which a performance of danjiri bayashi (music performed at festivals) is dedicated. These festivals and rites take place in summer and fall in various regions mainly around Nara Prefecture, Osaka Prefecture and the eastern part of Hyogo Prefecture. Particularly famous is the Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri that takes place in Kishiwada City, Osaka Prefecture, every September.

Refer to Danjiri Matsuri, Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri.


It is considered that when Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI built Osaka-jo Castle danjiri bayashi music became its 'theme song.'
Of course, building of a castle is a large-scale construction project just like building of a tumulus, and therefore timber chutes were used. It can be considered that danjiri and hayashi (Japanese music played to keep measure or enliven the mood) were already established in Settsu Province and its vicinity (castles were being built in areas outside of Kinai region (provinces surrounding Kyoto and Nara), and therefore, there is an inconsistency in this view).
It was broadcast in the television show "Rekishi Kaido" (historical path) on Asahi Broadcasting Corporation that 'Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI liked the tune of Sesshu danjiri bayashi.'
Furthermore, there is a record that danjiri's miyairi (ending of a festival by bringing portable shrines or floats back to the shrine) began at Osaka Tenman-gu Shrine during the Kanei era, which was the era of the Third Seiitaishogun (literally, 'great general who subdues the barbarians') Iemitsu TOKUGAWA. It can be considered that the hayashi music of the Shokuho era (Oda-Toyotomi era) had been passed down.

According to this theory, it is slightly older than the European classical music (baroque music). Of course, musical scores existed in Europe, but no such scores existed in pre-modern Japanese music. In any case, it can be said that danjiri and hayashi were perfected during the period of Shokuho rein.

Forms of Danjiri
The form of danjiri can be divided into two main groups of 'shimo danjiri' and 'kami danjiri.'
'Shimo' (lower) and 'kami' (upper) indicate whether the center of gravity of danjiri is located 'below' or 'above.'

The danjiri that is currently called shimo danjiri has been continuously improved according to the way it was pulled, since Kitamachi, a former city in Kishiwada, purchased it from Izumiotsu. From this, in the areas further south, danjiri was created in a form that was different from the conventional form, and according to one view, this type of danjiri is called shimo danjiri as opposed to the traditional form which is called kami danjiri.

In general, 'danjiri' refers to the nationally famous one in Kishiwada City in Senshu Region (former Izumi Province. Southwestern Osaka Prefecture). However, there are many places that are in possession of danjiri in Kawachi Region (former Kawachi Province. Eastern and southeastern Osaka Prefecture) and Settsu Region (former Settsu Province. Northern Osaka Prefecture, southeastern Hyogo Prefecture). In the Senshu area, the danjiri decorations and the way it is pulled are considered to be important. On the other hand, in the Kawachi Region, in addition to these, danjiri bayashi and the hikiuta (song for pulling danjiri) are also considered important. Moreover, in Settsu Region, in the case of southern Osaka City, eastern Osaka City, Kobe City and in the areas between Osaka and Kobe, danjiri decorations, the way it is pulled and danjiri bayashi are emphasized.

Shimo danjiri
It is also called the Kishiwada form. This form is often seen in danjiri in Senshu Region of Osaka Prefecture (coastal regions in southern Osaka Prefecture). It is larger and heavier kami danjiri, but the center of gravity is lower and it is more stable that it when maneuvering yarimawashi (making a turn). It requires more than 100 million yen to make a new danjiri. There is a rear lever used for yarimawashi and changing directions, and there are three horns called toribusuma (long, curved, cylindrical decorative tiles) on the larger roof. Toribusuma may also be found on a kami danjiri.

Kami danjiri
Other than the ones in Senshu Region of Osaka Prefecture, most are kami danjiri. Unique features can be found in the form of kami danjiri depending on the region, and various types exist, such as Sumiyoshi-type (Taisa danjiri), Sakai-type, Osaka-type, Ishikawa-type (Niwaka danjiri), Kitakawachi-type, Yamato-type, Kobe-type, Amagasaki-type, Ship-type, Shinto-shrine-type and Takarazuka-type.

It is relatively light-weight, and it can even go uphill.

There is no front lever, which is found in shimo danjiri, and it features wooden beams called 'ninaibo' (shoulder carrying poles) that surround it.

Because of these carrying poles it can be 'wheelied' by raising the danjiri during a parade known as 'rengo biki,'. This is called 'sashiage' (lifting up, raising,) and is performed in most regions in southern Osaka that uses kami danjiri.

Other maneuvers include 'yokoshakuri' in which the danjiri is swayed sideways, 'tateshakuri' in which the 'danjiri' is swayed forward and backward by using the principle of leverage, and moving it forward and backward. These acrobatic maneuvers are performed in some areas in southern Kawachi and Sakai City.

In particular, 'Ishikawa gata danjiri' (the Ishikawa-type danjiri) used mainly in Minamikawachi (southern Kawachi) has a unique shape with a high center of gravity, and therefore it is easy to perform these maneuvers.

In addition, in recent years, there are areas where 'ichirin dachi' (standing up on one wheel) is performed, in which one of the rear wheels is lifted up from the sashiage position.
The showing of maneuvers while pulling danjiri using these methods is called 'shikori,' 'den den' or 'outa, outa.'

However, performing the above-mentioned acts can damage the carvings, break the danjiri itself or injure people, and therefore, these acts are performed only in some regions.

Moreover, in one area within southern Osaka, a high-speed spinning called 'bunmawashi' has become quite a sight, in which the rear wheels of the danjiri are raised at an intersection, and then the danjiri is forcefully spun to the left and to the right from that position.

Sumiyoshi-type (Taisa danjiri) or Sakai-type danjiri is used in most regions in which bunmawashi is performed

In particular, many such regions are located on the outskirts of Sakai City, and they have a strong connection with Sakai since the ancient days.

In the Izumiotsu region, 'kachiai,' in which the danjiri belonging to different groups are smashed into each other, has become quite a sight..

In southern Amagasaki City, Hyogo Prefecture, 'yama awase' has become an attraction in which the front wheels of the danjiri are lifted and the ninaibo (katabo) of the opposing groups are placed on top of each other to decide who wins.

Furthermore, in many cases there is an engraving of a face that looks like a combination of a lion and a demon called shigami on the roof.

The ones that are considered to be of the Sakai-type belong to the above-mentioned category.

Depending on the region, an electric generator is loaded on the danjiri to ensure large electric power in order to equip the danjiri with bold decorations with neon lights and lighting.

Danjiri Bayashi

The danjiri bayashi in each of the three regions, Settsu, Kawachi and Senshu, has its own flavor, and is rated in various ways. In the Senshu region, drums, sho (bells or gongs) and Japanese flutes are used. In the Kawachi Region, large drums, small drums and sho are used. A microphone is used for hiki uta (limited to southern Kawachi region). In the Settsu Region, oyadaiko (parent drum), osho (male gong), mesho (female gong) and kodaiko (child drum) are used.

In northern Osaka City, there are areas that can put emphasis only on the music performance because they are missing dashi for various reasons, such as they were burnt during the Rebellion of Heihachiro Oshima, they were burnt due to the U.S. air raid during the Asia Pacific War, or no repair budget was secured. Thus, there are areas which can hardly be called to be in possession of danjiri, but places such as (north) Nagara and Minami Nagara in these areas view danjiri bayashi as an independent music. In some areas, such as the Hirano region, Juso region and Higashi Osaka region, there are a lot of associations that perform bold music of the Nagara and Minami Nagara regions.

Danjiri dance
This can be seen in some areas within Settsu Region (limited to Osaka City) and Kawachi Region.

On various groups
It is now common to call the 'higashi' (east) type the Tenma ryu group and the 'kita' (north) type the Nagara ryu group. In fact, besides the dance, the fact that there is a great difference even in the music performance is also mentioned on each danjiri website. Some people view that the former is the main stream and the latter is non-main stream, but this view is not very endorsable. Both groups should be highly praised for protecting their respective traditions.

They both belong to Kita Ward, Osaka City (Nagara belongs to former Oyodo Ward), but the reason why these names are widespread comes from the fact that Tenma refers to Osaka Tenman-gu Shrine, and the association that performed in the precincts of Tenman-gu Shrine consisted mostly of people of Imafuku and Gamo regions (Joto Ward, Osaka City). Therefore, it seems that 'higashi' is called the Tenma ryu because Imafuku and Gamo are located to the east of Osaka Tenman-gu Shrine and the performance was dedicated at this shrine, and 'kita' is called the Nagara ryu because Nagara is located to the north of Tenman-gu Shrine.

The dragon dance of Higashi
The 'higashi' area is called the area of the dragon dance. The reason why this has become a synonym for the dance is that because the dance is dedicated at Tenjin Matsuri (one of the Three Great Festivals in Japan) in the precincts of Osaka Tenman-gu Shrine, and it is often exposed through the mass media, which has led to its spread.

The danjiri dance of Kita
In the 'kita' region the dance is simply called 'danjiri odori' (danjiri dance), and genkatsugi, in which hands are thrust upward during the dance implying catching luck, is the basic form. The reason why this is called tanuki dance (raccoon dog dance) probably comes from some misunderstanding. The Nagara ryu-style danjiri dance performance was broadcast on MBS (Mainichi Broadcasting System., Inc.) on the eve of the opening of the Japan World Exposition in 1970, which was before the dragon dance began to receive a special treatment.

Danjiri songs
For the danjiri in Kagawa Prefecture, the participants put their arms around each other's shoulders as they sing the 'kudoki' that is unique to each region. Then they jump around and sing the kudoki, that has eight to ten verses, in front of the shrine. Refer to related matters on the danjiri in Kagawa.

Danjiri Teuchi (Japanese custom of ceremonial rhythmic hand clapping, performed at a special event)

The people who are involved in danjiri in Kawachi Region and Settsu Region always clap their hands when they receive a gratuity while pulling the danjiri or dedicating a hayashi performance. The popular form is sanbon jime (three sets of ippon jime (three sets of three claps and one final clap performed at the end of a special event)) in Kanto and ichojime (it is not called ipponjime) in professional baseball, but in danjiri, 'Osaka teuchi' is performed. According to one theory, this was spread by 'Ikutama san' of Chuo Ward, Osaka City, that is, Ikukunitama-jinja Shrine.

Tejime (Japanese custom of ceremonial rhythmic hand clapping, performed at the end of a special event) and Teuchi
Regarding teuchi, a fabricated word, 'Osaka jime,' is becoming established by the mass media and by entertainers. Unlike Edo, which was a city mainly of samurai, Osaka is a city of merchants. Therefore, it is hard to think that the word 'teuchi,' which implies execution, incurred a sense of avoidance. Therefore, it is appropriate to call it teuchi. Teuchi is also used when business arrangements are completed. There is a criticism such as, 'Yoshimoto Kogyo Co., Ltd. that has its head office in Tokyo belongs to a group of ignorant companies' because entertainers have a strong tendency to ignore cultural traditions.

Types of Teuchi
Most of danjiri that advocate teuchi perform '"u chimasho" (let's clap) don, don, "mohitotsu se" (do another one) don, don, "iwo te sando" (celebrate three times) dodon ga don.'
When the danjiri floats pass each other on a hill or on boats they perform '"uchima hyo' don, don, 'mohitotsu se ei' (do another one) don, don, and "yo itosa' don sutton ton.'
Thus, there exist teuchi for the general public and teuchi specifically for danjiri.

On the other hand, it seems that the mass media and entertainers say '"u chimasho (not "uchima hyo," the beginning part is made long) or "shi memasho" don, don, "mohitotsu se ei" don, don, "iwo te sando" dodon ga don,' but these should be treated as something that are different from the danjiri teuchi.

On September 15, 2006, which was the opening of the new Tenman Tenjin Hanjotei Theater, a Joseki (theater for regularly scheduled performances) of Kamigata Rakugo (traditional Japanese comic storytelling as performed in the Kyoto-Osaka region) Association, the danjiri association and the hanashika (professional rakugo story teller) (rakugo story teller) did a teuchi at the Tenman-gu Shrine precincts.
On this occasion, as opposed to the hanashika who was about to do '(abbreviated) "iwo te sando" dodon ga don' the danjiri association nonchalantly took the rhythm of '(abbreviated) "yo itosa" don sutton ton.'
It proves that the 'Osaka jime' of entertainers is completely different from the 'teuchi' of danjiri.

[Original Japanese]