Fukagawa Dances Then and Now

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Fukagawa Dances Then and Now

Did you know that Fukagawa not only refers to a place, but also refers to a name of a dance song? I am going to write about the history of Fukagawa dances first and Fukagawa dances nowaday at the end.

Fukagawa means a type of song that is played in Fukagawa dances. At the end of Edo era, Gannin-bozu or 願人坊主 brought Kappore, a type of dance called Sumiyoshi dance which originated in Osaka, to Tokyo and played it in front of Edo people. One of the songs from Kappore became “Fukagawa.” In mid-Meiji, Fukagawa started to play at dinner parties with a Tenugui, or a towel on their head, tucked up sleeves. From the end of Meiji Era and Tisho Era, Hounensai-Umebozu was a famous for Fukagawa. However, after Showa era, only the song is mainly played.

It probably looked like the picture below.

All of the pictures in this article is taken from

Now I am going to write about the Fukagawa dances in these days.

There is a famous dancing class called “Fukagawa Odori” and it teaches students who to dance while having fun at the class. This class is trying to preserve Japanese tradition by offering classes like not only dancing, but also tea celemories. According to its website, students first learn how to sit, walk, and bow. Then they start to practice how to dance, and at the end they dance with music. From my experience many other Japanese traditional lessons start from the very basics, so I think this applies to Hangyoku as well.

The picture above is a group from “Fukagawa Odori” class. It usually holds a “Ohanami party” at Ueno Onshi Park. The students usually dance at the most flamboyant place with a lot of cherry blossoms blooming. After they dance for several songs, then comes the “Kitsune-mai” or “Fox dance,” which came from Yoshiwara.  

“Kitsune-mai” depicts a fox chasing around women on the 31th of December. It was said that if a fox embrace a woman, that woman will be pregnant in Japan.

At the end, the audience has a chance to learn how to dance Fukagawa Odori.


Yamada, Keisuke. “日本舞踊が学べる教室、門前仲町「深川おどり」のお花見イベントって?.” MATCHA – 訪日外国人観光客向けWebマガジン, MATCHA, 31 Dec. 2017, matcha-jp.com/jp/882.

“櫻川流 江戸芸かっぽれ 公式ホームページ » かっぽれとは.” 櫻川流江戸芸かっぽれ, kappore.jp/about_kappore/.

日本大百科全書(ニッポニカ). “深川(ふかがわ)とは.” コトバンク, kotobank.jp/word/%E6%B7%B1%E5%B7%9D%28%E8%88%9E%E8%B8%8A%E9%9F%B3%E6%A5%BD%29-1585285.

“深川おどり劇場、 | 「深川おどり」お稽古教室.” 深川おどり, fukagawaodori.com/gekijo.

“深川おどり門前仲町教室・高円寺教室 | 東京都江東区 | 日本舞踊 |.” 趣味に関する教室・スクール情報 『趣味なび』, shuminavi.net/school/fukagawaodori/.

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