Here Come the Kabuki Shishi Lion Dances! *RERUN
Actor Kataoka Ainosuke explores the mythical and sacred Shishi lion. Discover the extraordinary variety of Shishi-mono dances in kabuki, and the famous mane-tossing movement. The father Shishi (R) and the child Shishi (L) tossing their manes in "Renjishi."
In the first half of "Renjishi" two performers use hand puppets and then in dance, show the strict training a father Shishi gives his son.
For most of kabuki's history, the very masculine Shishi dance from Noh was performed as an elegant dance of a courtesan. In the second half of "Shujaku Jishi," the courtesan appears as a feminine version of the spirit of the Shishi.
There is also an unusual version of "Renjishi" performed in Kansai that shows not only father and son, but the mother as well. The staging and costumes are different as well.
There are also folk performances of Shishi, like the Shishi found in street performances. In "Omatsuri," at a festival, a gallant head of a fire-fighting gang is tipsy and fights playfully with the young men of the neighborhood and the Shishi dancers.