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Nagasaki Kunchi


Nagasaki Kunchi is one of big-three festival in Japan, held on October 7 to 9 at Suwa Shrine.

The festival features Chinese dance including Ja-odori (Snake dance), this time dancing all

around the city but especially at Suwa Shrine. History of the Festival, after Christianity was

harshly suppressed in Nagasaki in 1624, a festival was dedicated to Suwa Shrine, the guardian

god of local people. It is believed that Suwa Shrine festival called “Nagasaki Kunchi” and danced

were offered to shrine with cooperated of local people in 1634.

At the outset, dedicated dance were very simple but gradually became colorful. During Eiho Era

(1673-80), a Chinese dance with an exotic flavor offered to the shrine. The Ja-odori or snake dance

was first performed in the Nagasaki Kunchi during period 1789-1800. In 1970, the government

designated the whole of Nagasaki Kunchi dance including Ja-odori as an Important Intangible

Cultural Asset.

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