Shimane: Fascinating Folk Music, Traditional Dance; Yasugi-bushi Entertainment Hall Reopens After Renovations

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A man performs the Dojou-sukui Odori dance in Yasugi, Shimane Prefecture.

YASUGI, Shimane — The Yasugi-bushi Engei-kan entertainment hall in Yasugi, Shimane Prefecture, has reopened after being closed for over a year due to renovations and the hiring of a new management organization.

Yasugi-bushi is a type of folk music passed down in Shimane Prefecture and known for its “Dojou-sukui Odori” (loach-scooping dance). Dancers wear a tenugui hand towel on their head and place a coin on their nose. They sway their hips with a basket attached to their waist, walking and bobbing to the rhythm of the music. They make funny gestures, scooping imaginary loaches with a bamboo strainer and trying to catch the escaping fish to make the audience laugh.

The hall opened in 2006 as a performance facility for the local Yasugi-bushi performing art. It temporarily closed in March of last year when the contract with its managing organization expired, and renovations were carried out to address the aging air conditioning and lighting equipment.

Ahead of the official opening on May 26, the facility had a special opening event during the Golden Week holidays in late April and early May, allowing visitors to watch Dojou-sukui Odori performances and even try the unique movements themselves.

Regular Yasugi-bushi performances are held twice a day on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. Admission is ¥1,000 for adults and ¥500 for elementary and junior high school students.