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About the Rougetsu Kagura
Every 10 years on Rougetsu Island, in October*, a ritual called the Rougetsu Kagura is performed.
Its exact origin is unknown, but the festival has been passed down by the people of Rougetsu Island, expressing interaction with the dead, a tradition with the intention of remembering the deceased.
The masked "Utsuwa" (the vessel), who is the central dancer, and the 5 shrine maiden girls called "Kanade", the instrumentalists, play music throughout the whole night of fantastic kagura dancing. Each member of the audience observing the Kagura wears a mask and holds a candle in their hand.
For a long time, the festival was shrouded in a veil of secrecy, but as of 30 years ago, it has been open to visitors and tourists.
This festival that occurs every decade is very important to the islanders and it is said that any islanders that have gone far away from the island always return on the day of the Kagura.
- Note: This appears to contradict other documents which state that the Rougetsu Kagura takes place in September. This inconsistency is due to the lunar calendar which was in use throughout much of Japanese history, and which does not align perfectly with the modern solar calendar. The Japanese text of this document refers to the tenth lunar month.