Folk Performance as Transgression: The Great Dengaku of 1096

Ashton Michael Lazarus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 1096 a series of dengaku performances, consisting of boisterous music and dance that originated in rural rice-planting rites, erupted in the Heian capital. Courtier reactions varied: some predicted the downfall of the realm while others joined the festivities, but all agreed it was an extraordinary phenomenon. Scholars have often viewed the event as a popular movement that succeeded, or failed, in occupying elite spaces in the capital and changing the trajectory of performance history. This article instead argues that dengaku created charged spaces of transgression in which social identities and cultural forms were negotiated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
JournalJournal of Japanese Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2018


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