Mai is the awakening of the soul. Mai is the prayer for the Supreme. Mai is the love of the Absolute. And Mai is the beautiful nature of Japan. With Mai we will pray to the One for the world to be a place in which to live in peace and love.
Kamigata-mai was born and developed in the Kamigata (Kyoto-Osaka) region of Japan in the 16th century. It was based on the dance tradition of Noh and Kyogen, taking some elements from the puppet movements of Bunraku. Typically, Noh, Kyogen and Bunra- ku are performed by men, while the dances of Kamigata-mai are mainly performed by women.
The performance accompanied by So Sugiura is divided in four parts.
1. Yashima (15 min.) is the name of a place where an historical battle was fought in Japan. In the dance, a monk crosses the landscape of Yashima. He sees a ghost of a warrior who had participated in the battle and who tells him how he died.
2. Kitsune no Yomeiri (The Marriage of a Fox) (15 min.) is a comical dance. In Japan when there is rain and sun together it is called a fox marriage. This dance presents the marriage of a fox.
3. Interlude (15 min.) Keiin Yoshimura, helped by two assistants, will change costume in front of the spectators showing the different layers of the male and female clothes used for the different characters.
4. Yuki (20 min.) is considered the best female dance of Kamigata-mai and is one of the most popular jiuta dances. The text tells the story of a Buddhist nun who has lived in a nunnery ever since she was disappointed by her lover as a young courtesan. The tolling of a temple bell in the snow reminds her of her past sorrows.