The Kashiwabaru Sumo Jinku (sumo-themed songs and dances) were held along with the Kashiwabaru Grand Sumo Tournament in the pine grove on the Kashiwabaru Coast every year on September 15 of the lunar calendar. This event is believed to have been started by fishermen and townspeople suffering from an epidemic as a prayer for an end to the epidemic, for a great catch of fish, and for safety. In days past, this event was a grand spectacle that attracted not only locals, but also throngs of spectators from far away. However, due to depopulation, the event was discontinued in the mid-1970s. Things began to change in 1989, when the dances were revived, primarily by women in the Kashiwabaru area. In 1993, a preservation society was re-formed. The ring-entrance ceremony starts with the emergence of the gyoji (referee), who is clad in an eboshi (pointed black hat) and hakama (traditional skirt-like pants). Following the gyoji to the refrain of, “Sorota yae soroimashita haa, sekitori-shuuu sorota dosukoi” (“They’re here, they’re here, the sumo wrestlers are all here, dosukoi”) is the tsuyuharai (dew sweeper). After him is the Yokozuna, in his gorgeous kesho-mawashi (ceremonial apron-like garment worn by upper-division sumo wrestlers), with his tachimochi (sword-bearing assistant) in tow. The four of them then enter the ring and proceed to the yumitorishiki (bow-twirling ceremony). In the dance, sumo wrestlers wearing kesho-mawashi bearing the name of popular sumo wrestlers arch around to the tune of shamisen (three-stringed Japanese lutes) and taiko drums, creating a humorous and dynamic sight. Finally, they exit as they liven up the crowd, saying, “Rikishi-san ni kashita okane wa, ahiru no tamago, kaesu kokoro wa saraninai” (“If you lend money to a sumo wrestler, duck egg, they never even think of paying it back”).
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