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Rougetsu Kagura
RougetsuKagura.jpeg
Japanese name 朧月神楽
Romaji name Rougetsu Kagura
Other names N/A
Location(s) Rougetsu Island
Participants Utsuwa, Kanade
Frequency Every 10 years on September 17th
Purpose Purely a tourist attraction
Game Fatal Frame IV: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse


The Rougetsu Kagura (朧月神楽) was a ceremony performed on Rougetsu Island every decade on the evening of September 17th where the Utsuwa and five Kanade performed a traditional Japanese theatrical dance known as kagura. The ceremony was based on a much older and more extravagant ritual known as the Kiraigou. After a tragedy, the Kiraigou became taboo, and the Kagura sprang up in its wake.

Preparation[]

Like the performers of the Kiraigou, the Utsuwa and her Kanade must meditate beneath the ceiling mask in the Antechamber for a while in order to become one with their masks. Islanders preparing to attend the Kagura would receive masks at the Hall of the Conscious Mind.

Originally the Tsukimori Shrine Maidens played an important role in preparations for the festival, most specifically in selecting the Kanade, but as the Tsukimori clan declined, their role was eventually dropped.

How the ritual is performed[]

At 10pm on the day of the festival, the residents of Rougetsu Island donned their masks and gathered in the Lunar Eclipse Hall to view the performance. The five Kanade stood around the circular platform with instruments, playing music to accompany the dance. The Utsuwa, dressed in a white kimono and a regular mask, would then begin to dance.

Beginning with the Utsuwa, the participants in the Kagura would enter a trance-like state in which it is said the soul has departed the body. This state was referred to as "utsusemi", or "empty body". At the end of the ceremony, the souls would return, along with lost memories.

Result[]

On the night of the lunar eclipse, it was believed that the minds of the living sank closer to death, while the souls of the dead returned. The Kagura honoured the dead and protected the living.

Although the Kiraigou was intended to summon a gate to the Other World and guide lingering spirits to the other side, the tourist Kagura never served this purpose.

Disaster[]

On the night of the lunar eclipse in 1970, the Kiraigou ritual was secretly performed at the same time as the Kagura. When the Mask of the Lunar Eclipse shattered, the Utsuwa and Kanade participating in the Kagura collapsed and died. The interruption of the ceremony also initiated a "Getsuyuu Syndrome crisis".

Trivia[]

  • Kagura is a Japanese word referring to a specific type of Shintō theatrical dance.
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