The festivals’ most significant feature is the communities’ devotion to the preparation and celebration of the festivals. Community members including men, women, the young and the elders share their tasks and responsibilities all year around preparing for the float festivals, the most important event of the year for them. Float festivals therefore foster communication and teamwork between community members, and play vital roles in uniting them. […] The festivals are planned in a way that reflects the diversity of ages among members of the local communities and includes all genders. […] All members of the community look forward to and practice the float festivals. […] In order to successfully prepare for and celebrate the festivals, each member of the communities takes charge of his/her specific role and works together. Such cooperation creates bonds within the communities that transcend age, status and gender. (pp. 4–5)
2. Materials and Methods
3.1. Observations: Concerning Changes in Gender Roles
3.2. Observations: Concerning Participation and Current Gender Roles
3.3. Observations: Other Characteristics
3.4. Observations: Regional Tendencies
5. Conclusions and Remarks
Conflicts of Interest
|Name of Festival||Name of Preservation Association||Number of Members||Distribution of Members by Age Group||Distribution of Members by Gender Group||Number or Neighbourhood Associations|
|Percentage Young (29 Yrs. and Younger)||Percentage Middle (30–64 Years)||Percentage Senior (65 Yrs. and Older)||Percentage Women||Percentage Men|
|1||Hachinohe Sansha Daisai no Dashi Gyōji||Hachinohe Sansha Daisai Dashi Matsuri Gyōji Hozonkai|
|2||Kakunodate Matsuri no Yama Gyōji||Kakunodate no Omatsuri Hozonkai||100||0||80||20||5||95||18|
|4||Hanawa Matsuri no Yatai Gyōji||Hanawa Bayashi Saiten Iinkai||180||0||95||5||0||100||10|
|5||Shinjō Matsuri no Yatai Gyōji||Shinjō Matsuri Yatai Gyōji Hozonkai||12 (* 1)||0||17||83||17||83||37 (* 2)|
|6||Hitachi Furyūmono||Hitachi Kyōdo Geinō Hozonkai (* 3)||160||5||15||85||2||98||4 (* 4)|
|10||Kawagoe Hikawa Matsuri no Dashi Gyōji||Kawagoe Hikawa Matsuri no Dashi Gyōji Hozonkai||16 (* 5)||0||19||81||0||100||13|
|12||Takaoka Mikurumayama Matsuri no Mikurumayama Gyōji||Takaoka Mikurumayama Hozonkai||450||25||45||30||52||48||10|
|13||Uozu no Tatemon Gyōji||Uozu Tatemon Hozonkai||350 (* 6)||20||50||30||10||90||7|
|14||Jōhana Shinmeigūsai no Hikiyama Gyōji||Jōhana Hikiyama Matsuri Hozonkai||70||0||10||90||0||100||9|
|15||Seihakusai no Hikiyama Gyōji||Seihakusai Dekayama Hozonkai||45 (* 7)||0 (* 7)||50 (* 7)||50 (* 7)||0 (* 8)||100 (* 8)||3 (* 9)|
|17||Furukawa Matsuri no Okoshidaiko Yatai Gyōji||Furukawa Matsuri Hozonkai||65||0||60||40||0||100||12|
|18||Ōgaki Matsuri no Yama Gyōji||Ōgaki Matsuri Hozonkai||12||0||44||56||0||100||10|
|20||Chiryū no Dashi Bunraku to Karakuri||Chiryū Dashi Rengō Hozonkai||20||0||30||70||0||100||5|
|21||Inuyama Matsuri no Yama Gyōji||Inuyama Matsuri Hozonkai||34||0||44||56||3||97||16|
|22||Kamezaki Shiohi Matsuri no Dashi Gyōji||Kamezaki Shiohi Matsuri Hozonkai||95||0||56||43||0||100||5 teams|
|23||Sunari Matsuri no Danjiribune Gyōji to Miyoshi Nagashi||Sunari Bunkazai Hogo Iinkai||68 (* 10)||0||60||40||0 (* 11)||100 (* 11)||1|
|30||Tobata Gion Ōyamagasa Gyōji||Tobata Gion Ōyamagasa Shinkōkai||48||0||90||10||2||98||4|
|31||Karatsu Kunchi no Hikiyama Gyōji||Karatsu Hikiyama Torishimarikai||60||0||62||38||0||100||14|
|32||Yatsushiro Myōkensai no Shinkō Gyōji||Yatsushiro Myōkensai Hozon Shinkōkai||67||0||57||43||6||94||28|
|33||Hita Gion no Hikiyama Gyōji||Hita Gion Yamaboko Shinkōkai||Circa 500||15||80||5||0||100||10|
|34||Ōtsu Matsuri||Ōtsu Matsuri Hozonkai||(* 12)||(* 13)||(* 13)||(* 13)||(* 14)||(* 14)||16|
|35||Hitachi Ōtsu no Ofunematsuri||Hitachi Ōtsu no Ofunematsuri Hozonkai||138||18||62||20||0||100||3|
|36||Murakami Matsuri no Yatai Gyōji||Murakami Matsuri Hozonkai||90||0||77||23||0||100||19|
|Concerning Gender Roles||Concerning Changes in Gender Roles|
|Name of Festival||Gender Tendencies||Gender Restrictions||What Change?||When?||Why?|
|1||Hachinohe Sansha Daisai no Dashi Gyōji||Apart from the festival floats, the Hachinohe Sansha Daisai festival also includes folk performing arts and various processions. Many of the participants are only involved on the actual day of the festival, so it is difficult to assess the number of participants and their age distribution. Regarding gender roles, each group deals with that in their own way and it varies between the groups. Please see the reference material enclosed.|
|2||Kakunodate Matsuri no Yama Gyōji||Both men and women can participate in pulling the festival floats [hikiyama], but only men can be festival officers (supervisor, deputy supervisor, traffic negotiator).||- Festival officers → limited to only men.|
- Teodori [hand dance] → women shoulder [this task] (especially young women under the age of 30) (the youngest start learning from around the age of 3).
- Both men and women—it is irrelevant—can participate in pulling the festival floats [hikiyama].
|The musicians were only men in the old days. Women did teodori [hand dance]. Now, women who can do both teodori and be musicians have increased. Teodori dancers and musicians have different ‘kumi’ [teams], with team leaders. In some cases, the teodori dancers and the musicians can have the same team leader and in other cases they are different.||A few years ago (about 5 to 10 years ago).||The local children are learning how to play the music and dance the teodori, but it was decided that the date of the festival is 7–9 September, meaning that in some cases the festival is held on weekdays, with a shortage of people.|
|4||Hanawa Matsuri no Yatai Gyouji||Nothing in particular.||It’s not a written rule but,|
- Operations (Commands, instructions) → men.
- Dancing → women.
|5||Shinjō Matsuri no Yatai Gyōji||- Shamisen is [played by] mostly women.|
- Steering the pulling of the festival floats is [done by] mostly men.
|6||Hitachi Furyūmono||Out of the 4 branches, 1 branch admits women to participate in narimono (a music instrument performance) only.||See previous. Concerning hikiyama (moving the festival float around by pulling the ropes), ordinary visitors coming to view the festival are admitted to participate.||Before, all 4 branches didn’t admit women’s participation, but now 1 branch admits participation.||Approximately 20 years ago.||Shortage of people, and a change in consciousness towards female participation|
|10||Kawagoe Hikawa Matsuri no Dashi Gyōji||In the case of Kawagoe, the circumstances of the role divisions between men and women vary completely between the different districts. The preservation association does not have a clear picture. (The same goes for the following questions.)|
|12||Takaoka Mikurumayama Matsuri no Mikurumayama Gyōji||Concerning the festival itself, women don’t participate in the operations or the management. Women’s assignment is to manufacture parts for the floats. The hanagasa [‘flower parasols’] of the Takaoka Mikurumayama are produced by men and women together. Women only participate in the preparation stages before the festival.||Concerning the buei [procession], everything is limited to men. The approximately 10 people in formal dress doing the role of attendant/companion are men, and the role of bodyguard/escort sitting on the float, done by kids, is limited to men.||Presently it’s limited to men but in the future, there is a possibility women might be accepted for the role children do as bodyguards/escorts sitting on the float. This is because the number of boys has declined considerably recently. That being said, it will probably not change for at least 10 years.|
|13||Uozu no Tatemon Gyōji||Traditionally, earlier it was a men’s festival. However, because of the progression of declining birth rates and population ageing, about 20 years ago (approximately) women started participating as musicians playing flute and drums. That elementary school students, regardless of sex, learned [flute and drums] in school also had an influence.||- Carriers and handlers of the ropes to secure the stability: men.|
- Flute and drums: men and women.
- People pulling the ropes of the festival float: women are in majority (because of a shortage of people, since men are concerned with the roles described above).
- Preparing tea etc, people behind the scenes: women.
|See previous answers.||See previous answers.||See previous answers.|
|14||Jōhana Shinmeigūsai no Hikiyama Gyōji||100% men. Each district decides the roles.||Entirely limited to men.|
|15||Seihakusai no Hikiyama Gyōji||- There are 3 festival floats.|
- Preservation association (in every neighbourhood/town there is a representative, vice representative, accountant etc.)
- Wakai shu [Young lads/people] (Head of the young lads/people, work song singers, handlers of the levers, handlers of the stop levers, handlers of rope, etc.)
|- Pulling the floats are for both men and women and open to the public to participate.|
- I believe it is safe to say that the area closest to the festival float is restricted to only men.
- Among the 3 floats, concerning the pulling of the ropes of the floats, there are 2 women’s groups.
|See previous answer but, among the 3 floats, there are 2 neighbourhoods/towns with women’s groups.||For the 2 neighbourhoods/towns it was around 1999 and 2001, I believe.||For example, a shortage of people caused by depopulation and population ageing etc. was [also] happening, but, to liven up the festival and to let girls participate even a little was [also] a purpose.|
|17||Furukawa Matsuri no Okoshidaiko Yatai Gyōji||None.||None.||Previously, women couldn’t even get close to the festival floats. Now, elementary school and junior high school girls are participating as musicians, and also women participate in pulling the ropes of the festival float.||Around 1989.||Shortage of people.|
|18||Ōgaki Matsuri no Yama Gyōji||In general, men shoulder many tasks.||It’s not a rule but, it’s a tacit understanding that women are not involved in religious matters.||Earlier, women were not allowed to touch the sanryōyama [three particular festival floats].||After the war approximately.||Unknown.|
|20||Chiryū no Dashi Bunraku to Karakuri||Nothing in particular.||Nothing in particular (However, women are not involved in handling the kajibō [the poles used to manoeuvre and turn the festival float]).||Nothing in particular.|
|21||Inuyama Matsuri no Yama Gyōji||- The role pulling the festival floats (called ‘teko’ in Inuyama) is impossible for other than men. 20–25 people.|
- There are 10–15 musicians. Among them, the small drum group consists of 6–8 children, about half of them girls. There are 6–8 mothers as caretakers of the children of the small drum group.
- The other various roles are performed by 10–15 men from the neighbourhood.
- 5–8 people handle the karakuri [mechanical dolls and devices], all men.
|In principle, there are no gender based divisions but, considerable strength is required for pulling the festival float, so presently they are all men.||For a long time, it was nyonin kinsei [prohibited for women], but the preservation association lifted the ban formally.||1997 (Heisei year 9).||That it got hard to secure children for the small drum group because of the declining birth rates was one factor, but it doesn’t make sense to ostracize women from religious matters such as festivals in the first place, and also, as a result of many discussions in the preservation association, we concluded that the custom to abhor women is no more than a convention.|
|22||Kamezaki Shiohi Matsuri no Dashi Gyōji||Nyonin kinsei [prohibited for women].||Nyonin kinsei [prohibited for women].|
|23||Sunari Matsuri no Danjiribune Gyōji to Miyoshi Nagashi||- In the Sunari festival about 60 people board the boats, all of them men.|
- The music on the boat is performed by 4 out of 6 pages/children/ boys and 3 flute players. The pages are boys from 3 years old to 6th year of elementary school. 2 boys between 4th and 6th year of elementary school play big drums and small drums, and 2 boys between 5 to 7 years old play tsuzumi [drums] using drumsticks. The pages are accompanied by 4–8 people.
- Apart from the above, on the boats there are also around 6 wakashu [youths/lads] (20 years old men), 3 matsuri sanyaku [leader role] and 4 boatmen, and people in charge of the paper lanterns.
|- Since it’s an old custom it’s been conducted by only men.|
- Ever since it became possible to loan the festival costumes, women have helped with dressing, but so far no women have participated in the actual festival. (Not counting the miko [shrine maidens] at the shrine and the miko daiko [drum performance].
|For reasons connected to the declining birth rate, in case there are no boys available to consider for the role of page, discussions have developed on approving also girls, but [since] the [age range of the] children to consider for the role has been extended to elementary/primary school, no girls have participated.||About 15 years ago.|
|30||Tobata Gion Ōyamagasa Gyōji||Generally, women can’t participate in the festival.|
|31||Karatsu Kunchi no Hikiyama Gyōji||Since there are ‘0′ women, there are no role divisions.||It varies between the neighbourhoods, but some neighbourhoods admit elementary school girl to participate.||In all neighbourhoods, the number of people pulling the floats have grown, so before adult women are involved in an accident or similar, their participation has been prohibited.||Latter Showa period.||In all neighbourhoods there are many people pulling the floats, so contrarily the restrictions are getting stricter.|
|32||Yatsushiro Myōkensai no Shinkō Gyōji||About 1700 people participate in the Shinkō procession. The sex ratio varies between the festival floats but in general a large proportion are men. Many women participate as so called caretakers or helpers, as persons behind the scenes.||Around 40 festival floats participate in the Shinkō procession but, among them, regarding the ‘Yakko’, only men are allowed. Afraid that the transmission of techniques might leak to the outside, in the neighbourhood dedicated to Yakko, previously only the eldest son was allowed to participate but, due to the impact of declining birth-rates etc. it has become hard to transmit [the techniques] if only inherited by the oldest son so, it has opened up to people other than the oldest son.||There has been no particular change to gender roles.|
|33||Hita Gion no Hikiyama Gyōji||100% men.||100% men.||None.||None.||None.|
|34||Ōtsu Matsuri||There is no particular division of roles based on gender. On an individual level, the woman of the family often handles costume matters.||In all the festival floats, the guards, musicians, and float builders are men only.||The recruitment of people to pull the festival floats used to be done from the neighbourhoods, but now there are volunteers. From some years ago, one division become open for the participation of women. However, pulling the floats requires strength, so we are trying to decrease the ratio of women of as much as possible. Now the ratio is about 10%.||Tens of years ago.||Due to the enthusiastic requests of some people, the director in charge of the volunteers pulling the festival floats (Hikiyama federation) at the time lost, and after starting admitting [volunteers] it became not possible to refuse women.|
|35||Hitachi Ōtsu no Ofunematsuri||Only men.|
|36||Murakami Matsuri no Yatai Gyōji||Women riding the festival floats (musicians). From the forties of the Showa era, it became ok for women (elementary school students) to ride the festival floats.||From the forties of the Showa era.||Declining birth rate.|
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|Region||Prefecture||City/Town||Name of Festival||Year of Designation|
|1||Tōhoku||Aomori||Hachinohe||Hachinohe Sansha Daisai no Dashi Gyōji||2004|
|2||Tōhoku||Akita||Senboku||Kakunodate Matsuri no Yama Gyōji||1991|
|3||Tōhoku||Akita||Akita||Tsuchizaki Shinmeishasai no Hikiyama Gyōji||1997|
|4||Tōhoku||Akita||Kazuno||Hanawa Matsuri no Yatai Gyōji||2014|
|5||Tōhoku||Yamagata||Shinjō||Shinjō Matsuri no Yatai Gyōji||2009|
|7||Kantō||Tochigi||Nasukarasuyama||Karasuyama no Yamaage Gyōji||1979|
|8||Kantō||Tochigi||Kanuma||Kanuma Imamiya Jinjasai no Yatai Gyōji||2003|
|9||Kantō||Saitama||Chichibu||Chichibu Matsuri no Yatai Gyōji to Kagura||1979|
|10||Kantō||Saitama||Kawagoe||Kawagoe Hikawa Matsuri no Dashi Gyōji||2005|
|11||Kantō||Chiba||Katori||Sawara no Dashi Gyōji||2004|
|12||Chūbu||Toyama||Takaoka||Takaoka Mikurumayama Matsuri no Mikurumayama Gyōji||1979|
|13||Chūbu||Toyama||Uozu||Uozu no Tatemon Gyōji||1997|
|14||Chūbu||Toyama||Nanto||Jōhana Shinmeigūsai no Hikiyama Gyōji||2002|
|15||Chūbu||Ishikawa||Nanao||Seihakusai no Hikiyama Gyōji||1983|
|16||Chūbu||Gifu||Takayama||Takayama Matsuri no Yatai Gyōji||1979|
|17||Chūbu||Gifu||Hida||Furukawa Matsuri no Okoshidaiko Yatai Gyōji||1980|
|18||Chūbu||Gifu||Ōgaki||Ōgaki Matsuri no Yama Gyōji||2015|
|19||Chūbu||Aichi||Tsushima/Aisai||Owari Tsushima Tennōsai no Danjiribune Gyōji||1980|
|20||Chūbu||Aichi||Chiryū||Chiryū no Dashi Bunraku to Karakuri||1990|
|21||Chūbu||Aichi||Inuyama||Inuyama Matsuri no Yama Gyōji||2006|
|22||Chūbu||Aichi||Handa||Kamezaki Shiohi Matsuri no Dashi Gyōji||2006|
|23||Chūbu||Aichi||Kanie||Sunari Matsuri no Danjiribune Gyōji to Miyoshi Nagashi||2012|
|24||Kinki||Mie||Yokkaichi||Toride Jinja no Kujirabune Gyōji||1997|
|25||Kinki||Mie||Iga||Ueno Tenjin Matsuri no Danjiri Gyōji||2002|
|26||Kinki||Mie||Kuwana||Kuwana Ishidori Matsuri no Saisha Gyōji||2007|
|27||Kinki||Shiga||Nagahama||Nagahama Hikiyama Matsuri no Hikiyama Gyōji||1979|
|28||Kinki||Kyōto||Kyōto||Kyōto Gion Matsuri no Yamahoko Gyōji||1979|
|29||Kyūshū||Fukuoka||Fukuoka||Hakata Gion Yamakasa Gyōji||1979|
|30||Kyūshū||Fukuoka||Kitakyūshū||Tobata Gion Ōyamagasa Gyōji||1980|
|31||Kyūshū||Saga||Karatsu||Karatsu Kunchi no Hikiyama Gyōji||1980|
|32||Kyūshū||Kumamoto||Yatsushiro||Yatsushiro Myōkensai no Shinkō Gyōji||2011|
|33||Kyūshū||Oita||Hita||Hita Gion no Hikiyama Gyōji||1996|
|35||Kantō||Ibaraki||Kita-ibaraki||Hitachi Ōtsu no Ofunematsuri||2017|
|36||Chūbu||Niigata||Murakami||Murakami Matsuri no Yatai Gyōji||2018|
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