Traditional performing arts


Bo-no-te is one of Japan's folk performing arts with a long history. The term bo-no-te was used in the former provinces of Owari and Mikawa (present day Aichi Prefecture). It is said to have originated in the 14th century during the Nambokucho (Southern and Northern Courts) Period among the practitioners of shugendo (an ancient Japanese religion of mountain asceticism), but the techniques of bo-no-te as handed down in its present form are thought to have been established near the end of the Edo Period. It is thought that bo-no-te wa was initially employed by the guards of festival processions and it gradually transformed from a martial art based on actual fighting techniques to a type of performing art.


This refers to an old Japanese custom of dedicating elaborately decorated horses to temples and shrines to pray for favors such as rain or good weather. It is a custom which has been widely practiced within Aichi Prefecture, and particularly during the Edo Period, it is conspicuously seen to have been performed at many village festivals in the region between western Mikawa and Owari, where the custom was referred to as uma no to or omanto. In some cases, villagers dedicated these decorated horses to a household diety, whereas in other instances, people from distant villages would gather at certain specific temples or shrines to perform this rite. When this rite was performed on a grand scale, it was called gasshuku or gasshoku, and today, it is only observed at Sanage Shrine and Masumida Shrine.