original form of "nihon buyo"
is recorded in Japan's oldest history
book "Kojiki" that was completed
in 712. It describes how a goddess
herself to dancing; she put grass
on her dress and hair for decorations,
clasped a bundle of bamboo leaves
in her hand, and stamped her feet
on a large pail. Similar stage props
and style of beating rhythm with feet
are still used in today's nihon buyo.
It verifies that nihon buyo has its
origin in the ancient times. It was,
however, only a starting point, and
there has been a long process of development
in nihon buyo in different rections.
The appearance of Izumo-no-Okuni
early in the 17th century was an epoch-making
event. She performed on stage what
was called "nenbutsu odorih in
local Kyoto (a primitive kind of dance
in which dancers jumped about to the
rhythm of the accompanying bell).
Flutes and drums were used for the
accompaniment, and the base of nihon
buyo as performing arts was established
in this era. Afterwards, different
schools were founded, and since then,
each of them has been training their
students to nurture the talents. Major
schools of Nishikawa, Fujima, Bando,
Hanayagi, and Wakayagi have handed
down and developed further their traditions
as pioneers. Including new smaller
schools added in modern times, they
have created and performed various
works of "classical buyo"
and "suodori buyo (dance without
wearing special costumes)." Since
early in the 20th century, "sosaku
(original work) buyo" gradually
came to be performed.
Today approximately 5,000 professional
dancers are actively working in nihon
buyo circles, and giving their performances
at nationwide venues.