民謡 (みんよう)

folk song; esp. songs originally associated with religious events or daily work, like farming, fishing, rice-planting, wood-cutting, packhorse driving, coal-mining, e.g. Kokiriko, Soranbushi, Oiwake-Bushi, Funa-Uta; since most such activities no longer exist (or are no longer done by hand), many traditional songs and song styles are maintained only through preservation societies (hozonkai, doshikai) and traditional festivals like Bon Odori


田楽 (でんがく)

ancient rituals, dances, and music related to rice planting and harvesting; meant to ensure a good harvest or to scare away pests, the dances were performed either at New Year’s celebrations or during the actual planting or harvesting season; aspects of these ancient harvest dances were later incorporated into early Noh theater performances; drums were an integral part of the musical accompaniment



神楽 (かぐら)

“music of the gods”; ancient Shinto folk performing art involving music and dance, said to originate from the music and dance done by Uzume to entice Amaterasu from her cave; originally performed in the courtyard in front of a shrine, but later done on a stage; meant to placate or entertain kami; dances accompanied by flutes, drums, gongs

Kagura performance at the Hie Shrine in Tokyo, part of the Sanno Matsuri

Kagura performance at the Hie Shrine in Tokyo, part of the Sanno Matsuri


囃子 (はやし)

“orchestra, musicians”; generic term for a drum and flute ensemble; also refers to the music such a group plays, i.e. “accompaniment;” written –bayashi (ばやし)when following certain words; a festival hayashi might consist of five members: 2 shime-daiko, 1 ō-daiko (not the ō-daiko, but rather a byō-uchi-daiko that’s larger than the shime-daiko), 1 fue, 1 atarigane