- Young child. It refers to children who perform in festivals at Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. A young child is seen as potentially the purest medium for communication with the kami. Shamans (see miko) traditionally started their training at an early age when it was believed the kami would more easily take possession, and a sacred child (chigo or shindo) features in a number of rites such as the Tenjin matsuri. Several different shrine-rites are performed by children including the hana-shizume no mai (blossom-purification dance) at Hikawa jinja, Saitama on April 5-7th and the hanaoke katsugi ('flower ubs on carrying poles') procession of young girls at the Sankawa-tenmangu jinja, Tochigi. The magomi ('child-viewing') matsuri at the Kawaguchi sengen jinja, Yamanashi, is performed for Sengen, the kami of Mt. Fuji, to keep the mountain from erupting. Dances performed by young girls include the onomatopoeic 'chakkirako', a name which represents the sound of the ayadake, a paper-wrapped bamboo instrument carried by the dancers. The dance is performed at the Gohongu kainan jinja, Kanagawa, on January 15th.
A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. Brian Bocking.
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