A Video Survey of Edo Daikagura (Traditional Japanese Juggling)

Modern juggling is extremely popular in Japan right now, but the country has a very long tradition of juggling that dates back quite far. This style of juggling, known as Edo Daikagura (or just Daikagura) is around 400 years old. Some of the more famous Daikagura routines include the bottomless basket (hanakagomori), mouth stick and tea cup (dobin and kuwae-bachi), parasol spinning (bangasa), a ball and two drum sticks (hitotsumari-no-kyoku), and various balancing tricks. Many articles could be written on the history and practice of Edo Daikagura, but today I just want to provide readers with a sampling of some of the routines and props that this tradition includes.

The videos below feature some of the best-known current Daikagura performers, including Wasuke, Okina, Senmaru, Kasen, Houraiya Kouki, Michiyo Kagami, and Kagami Seijiro. It is interesting to learn that many Japanese jugglers who do modern juggling skills have never seen an Edo Daikagura performer.

Enjoy the following videos. Even if you’re already familiar with Daikagura, I’d guess you’ll still see some variations and tricks that are new to you.

Last, but certainly not least, is Senoh Maruichi, the 13th in a long line of daikagura entertainers and leader of the Edo-Daikagura Maruichi Senoh Troupe.

There are many, many more videos of Edo Daikagura online, but I think the ones above give us a good sample of the art form.

David Cain is a professional juggler, juggling historian, and the owner of the world's only juggling museum, the Museum of Juggling History. He is a Guinness world record holder and 15 time IJA gold medalist. In addition to his juggling pursuits, David is a successful composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and singer as well as the author of twenty-four books. He and his children live in Middletown, OH (USA).

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