Soshimari (蘇志摩利)

Soshimari is a piece from gagaku (an ancient Japanese court dance and music).
It is also known as 'Chokyuraku' or 'Soshimori.'

It is a dance performed by a team of six dancers and belongs to the Uho (a style of Japanese court dance and music, or the Komagaku music). In the Shingaku (a style of Japanese court dance and music, or the new Togaku music), it is performed by a team of four dancers. It utilizes Koma-sojo (one of the Japanese chromatic scale based on A minor). Dancers wear a Kasane-shozoku costume (a costume for Noh) and a mino (a straw raincoat), and partway through the dance, wear a kasa (a straw hat), which they had buckled to their waist. As legend goes, it was danced to pray for rain and was believed to be effective.
It is a Tsugaimai Dance (a performance consisting of two pieces of dance) that involves 'Somakusha.'

The piece is described in the Koma (Korean) section of the "Kyokunsho" (a literature of gagaku). During the Kyuan era (1145-1150) under the reign of Emperor Konoe, it was declared that no one could perform Soshimari anymore.
According to "Nihongi Tsusho" (Verification of Chronicles of Japan) (authored by Kotosuga TANIGAWA), in the music of Goryeo, there is a song titled 'Soshimari' and a music instrument called 'Soshimari.'
Refer to "Nikkan Koshidan" (Ancient Histories of Japan and Korea).

Soshimari was revived in the Meiji period. There is a belief that Hirotsugu HAYASHI was ordered to revive Soshimari to commemorate the establishment of the Korea Protection Agency based on the Eulsa Treaty. There is also a belief that it was revived by Fujitsune SHIBA. Recently, it was performed at the Meiji-jingu Shrine.

It is said that the dance was designed based on the legend where Susanoo and his son Isotakeru no kami, who went to Silla after being expelled from Heaven, experienced torrential rain in the region of Soshimori and protected themselves from the rain by making straw hats from straw.


It is based on the explanatory note on the first part of the story of Susanoo's killing of the Yamata no Orochi (an eight-forked great serpent), which is described in the Chigi hongi (the original record of earthly deity worship) in the volume 4 of "The Sendai Kujihongi" (Ancient Japanese History) (although it is said to be false an apocryphal book that was submitted when lecturing on the Chronicles of Japan) that is quoted from the article on Soshimari described in book 10 of volume 20 of the "Wamyo ruijusho" (Japan's oldest dictionary of Chinese characters edited in the Heian period).


The description of Soshimori is found in the first part of the story of the killing of the Yamata no Orochi in the arufumi (an "alternate writing" transmitted by Nihonshoki) No.4 in the section 8 of book 1 of the "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan).

Also, in the section of Karoku, the third dangun (the king of the first Korean kingdom) in 'The First Half of the History of Dangun' collected in the "Kandan Koki" (Texts on Ancient Korean History), which is said to be an apocryphal book, the following article on Soshimori is found:

As shrines related to Soshimori, there is a Soshimori-sha Shrine that enshrines Imori Daishin (also known as Susanoo), a subordinate shrine (its south gate faces the north side of Hikowakamiko-jinja Shrine) of Atsuta-jingu Shrine.


In his paper 'Study of Emergence and Disappearance of Ancient Countries in the Korean Peninsula' (August 1891 edition of "Journal of Historical Studies," volume 21, p.21-p.22), Togo YOSHIDA proposed that 'Soshimori in the Korean island called Soshimori, which is visited by Susanoo' is Mt. Gyuto and that was around the fourth century B.C. during the Spring and Autumn Warring States period in China. This paper was later transcribed into "Nikkan Koshidan" (Ancient Histories of Japan and Korea, p.34-p.35).

Afterwards, Kogen-jinja Shrine was set up on Mt. Gyuto, which is located in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, South Korea, the former territory of Silla.
(The shrine was set up in 1918 and designated as a National Shrine, Third Rank on October 1, 1941.)

In the "Lecture on Chronicles of Japan in the Gangyo Era "by Emperor Yozei, which is collected in "Shaku Nihongi" (annotated text of the Nihon Shoki), KOREYOSHI no Takahisa proposed that Soshimori was So(no)hori, or the present day Seoul. In the explanatory note on this description, the comment, 'This theory is quite unusual and amazing…' was added.

In his paper "Japanese Shares Ancestors with Koreans" (reprinted, published by Seikoshobo), Shozaburo KANAZAWA proposed that "Somori," a word resulting from subtracting the particle "shi" from "Soshimori," corresponds to "Sohori" from a phonological perspective, and further stated that the sound "mo" and the sound "ho" are substantially equivalent.

Choi Jun Sik (崔俊植), a professor at Ehwa Womans University and the head of the Religious Culture Studies Institute in South Korea, explains that the 'soshi' and 'mori' in 'Soshimori' refer to 'a high pillar' and 'summit or top,' respectively, thus the word 'Soshimori' means 'the summit of a high pillar.'

[Original Japanese]