Sociology Mind
2012. Vol.2, No.3, 306-312
Published Online July 2012 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Community Creation by Residents and Tourists via
Takachiho kagura in Japanese Rural Area
Shiro Hori uchi
Shibauta Institute of Technology, Saitama, Japan
Received February 22nd, 2012; revised Ap ril 2nd, 2012; accepted May 5th, 2012
Rural communities are disappearing in Japan due to aging, depopulation, and changes in lifestyles. Re-
cently, outsiders such as immigrants, volunteers, and tourists cooperate with residents to revive and
maintain rural communities. This paper uses my fieldwork in the rural areas of Takachiho, where the
Japanese traditional dance kagura is well-known, to consider the possibility that residents and tourists
cooperatively create shared communities. Actually, an increasing number of tourists visit Takachiho to
see kagura. Consequently, some dancers miss “classical” kagura, which involved almost exclusively local
residents in intimate interactions. Nonetheless, many dancers welcome the influx of tourists and its
stimulation of community festivals. Some tourists are attracted to kagura at community festivals, and
some dancers and tourists have tried to forge bridges between their groups to create a shared community.
The existence of kagura becomes an important common symbol that connects members of local commu-
Keywords: Community Boundary; Local Culture; Outsiders
Throughout history, ideas about communities have attracted
continuous attention from sociologists (Tönnies, 1887; MacIver,
1924), who have studied various communities in the forms of
local villages or cities, companies or schools, and even Internet
groups (Delanty, 2003). In general, communities share the fea-
tures of a reserve, in which members interact intimately and
trust one another. Based on secure social relationships, mem-
bers govern common property resources or manage social capi-
tal following the rules or norms of the community (Coleman,
1988; Ostrom, 1990). To maintain the beneficial functions of
the community , member s almost alway s reify their me mbership
in some way and exclude outsiders (Cohen, 1985). Indeed, the
idea of a community entails some degree of xenophobia. Only
when community membership is fixed, do the members feel
obliged and willing to obey the rules of the community despite
the costs because they can gain benefits from its exclusivity
(Olson, 1965). Because membership is fixed, members com-
municate with one another frequently. Only when the member s
know one another can they monitor and punish those who vio-
late the rules of the community (Hechter, 1987). The members
reify their membership to secure their relationships; such secure
relationships, in turn, lead members to further reify their mem-
bership. Members continually construct social boundaries be-
tween themselves and outsiders to ensure the identity of the
community (Lamont & Molnar, 2002).
To further concretize images of a community, I will examine
the historically rural areas of Japan. Japanese rural areas were
historically composed of hamlets or shizen-son (Suzuki, 1968),
which had fixed memberships. Residents lived most of their
lives in the hamlets, where they were assumed to share the
same ancestors. Most residents were farmers and were involved
in the collective work of agriculture, exchanging mutual help,
which was referred to as yui or moyai. They excluded outsiders
from their shared resources. Local cultures were represented by,
for example, dances, music, and marches, which often became
common symbols by which members demonstrated their mem-
bership in the community. At times, residents sincerely wel-
comed certain outsiders before finally excluding them; these
welcome/exclusion customs formed the basis of the local cul-
tures in Japanese rural areas (Orikuchi, 2003).
Since the major industrial developments in Japan in the
1960s, the situation in rural areas has changed dramatically
(Hosoya, 1998). Most residents are not fully involved in agri-
culture. Instead, they may have part-time jobs in agriculture.
Collective agricultural jobs are disappearing because of greater
mechanization, and local cultures are also disappearing because
local residents hardly have time for festivals due to their new
jobs. Fewer young residents are interested in local cultures,
which appear outmoded to them. Many residents have left their
home towns for major cities to pursue jobs, studies, or leisure
activities. The few remaining residents can hardly sustain the
former rural communities. Indeed, the communities in many
rural areas are in danger of collapse.
Some Japanese rural areas now invite outsiders to activate or
revive their communities. Outsiders consist of immigrants,
volunteers, and tourists. Immigrants and volunteers actually
revitalize rural areas by operating new businesses through net-
works that transcend the boundaries of the settled rural areas
(Akitsu, 1998), by taking jobs that residents do not fill due to
depopulation or aging (Yamamoto, 2003), and by participating
in the local culture as new members (Hoshino, 2009). Immi-
grants and volunteers can really be regarded as new members of
rural communities in the sense that they make friends with
some residents and are concerned about the future of the com-
Compared with immigran ts and volunteers who interact wit h
residents directly, tourists have fewer interactions with resi-
dents. As a consequence, misunderstandings are more likely to
occur between residents and tourists. Previous studies have
actually suggested that tourism had negative consequences on
local societies (Smith, 1989); for example, tourists may cause
residents to abandon the practices that constitute part of their
local culture, steal sacred statues, provide few direct benefits to
residents, lead local residents to became engaged in the prac-
tices of the local culture for monetary gain, and contribute to
negative stereotypes due to limited opportunities for direct
Some tourists, however, contribute to the revitalization of
rural communities, and local residents have improved their
relationships with one another through communication with
tourists (Nash, 1996). To attract tourists, rural residents may
revive their traditional festivals as part of managing their rural
communities (Moon, 1989). Indeed, residents may consciously
construct the community imagined by the tourists after wel-
coming the latter from outside their borders to earn cash income
(Yamashita, 2003). Local cultures, which were originally cre-
ated as commodities to entertain tourists, have often become the
basis of the local identity of the residents (Cohen, 1988). These
consequences, however, are only by-products of the impact of
tourism on local societies. As long as tourists rarely interact
intimately with residents, they cannot be regarded as members
of the communities, a role that the immigrants and volunteers
adopt legitimately.
It remains unclear whether tourists can work with residents
to cooperatively create and maintain a shared community in
rural areas as do immigrants and volunteers; that is, the ability
of tourists to be members of their target communities is uncer-
tain. To revive rural communities, some portion of the tourists
should be sufficiently embedded in their target communities to
become members. Projects involving “alternative tourism”
(Smith & Eadington, 1992) are expected to revitalize rural
communities, perhaps by enticing some tourists to become
members of the communities. It is necessary to accumulate case
studies to address these issues because individual situations
differ greatly from one another. This paper introduces my
fieldwork as one examination of the possibility of community
creation via the cooperation of residents and tourists.
Takachiho kagura
Takachiho is located in Miyazaki prefecture in Japan. Al-
though the central part of Takachiho contains many shops, res-
taurants, and hotels, most areas of Takachiho consist of paddy
or vegetable fields, cattle sheds, and mountains with coniferous
Takachiho is famous as a sacred place in Japanese mythol-
ogy and as the birthplace of kagura1, a traditional dance that
was transmitted to many areas in Japan. Kotegawa (1976)
stated that Takachiho kagura probably originated in the Nara
era (710-794). According to Yamaguchi (2000), the present
style of Takachiho kagura dates from the Kamakura era
(1192-1333). In Takachiho, residents have performed kagura
every year, including during World War II (1939-1945). During
the 1970s, the number of dancers decreased because of de-
population and aging in the area. During those times, Taka-
chiho kagura was selected as an intangible cultural asset by the
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technol-
ogy of Japan, and some residents were officially invited to per-
form kagura in several European countries. Because of these
events, which made Takachiho kagura famous, many residents
started to participate in kagura after the 1970s. Despite the
continued depopulation and aging of the area, kagura is still
practiced in 19 areas in Takachiho in 20102.
In Takachiho, the kagura season begins in November and
lasts until the February of the following year. It usually starts
during the evening of a festival day and involves the continuous
performance of 33 dances, including formal dances in which
audiences welcome local spirits (the dancers), amusing dances
in which dancers interact pleasantly with the audience, story-
telling dances in which dancers act out stories from mythology,
and climactic dances in which audiences say farewell to the
spirits that then return to the mountains. The finale occurs the
next morning. Kagura is both a prayer to the spirits by the
residents and a festival event in which residents interacted in-
timately with one another, ensuring comraderie within the com-
munity. All dancers are traditionally restricted to males.
Residents traditionally selected private homes as kagurayado,
places for performing kagura3. Historically, private homes in
Takachiho had been large because home owners had worked in
agriculture and owned cattle. Tradition is important for under-
standing Takachiho kagura in that the home owners of kagu-
rayado were proud of being selected and having their homes
welcome the spirits. Furthermore, dancers and audiences stayed
in the same rooms at the private homes. At midnight, dancers
and audiences interacted intimately amid great excitement. At
times, quarrels occurred among audience members who had
had too much to drink. At the end of kagura, audience members
were given sacred ornaments used in this tradition. Audiences
were largely restricted to the residents of Takachiho, although a
few tourists visited from distant areas. Thus, intimate interac-
tion between dancers and audience members was easy, allow-
ing the residents to reinforce their sense of community.
Today, Takachiho residents can barely fit performances of
kagura into private homes. Recently built houses are typically
small because the owners do not own cattle or work in agricul-
ture. As a consequence, kagura is often performed in public
buildings. In 2009 and 2010, respectively, nine and 10 of the 19
areas conducted kagura in public buildings. The change in
venue from private homes to public buildings represents the
change in kagura itself as it moved from traditional to modern.
Furthermore, the number of tourists from outside of Takachiho
1The myth tells about the sun spirit, Amaterasu, who had hidden herself in a
cave formed by rocks, referred to as Amanoiwato, located in Takachiho.
When the sun then dis appeared f rom the eart h, many sp irits tr ied to remov e
the rocks to liberate t he sun, bu t this plan fail ed because t he rocks wer e too
heavy to move. Uzume, a spirit related to the arts and joy, danced in front o
the rocks. Because her dance was entertaining, all the spirits gathered to
watch it. Amaterasu heard the laughter of the spirits from her position
behind the rocks. This piqued her interest, and she opened the rocks slightly
Then, the powerful spirit, Tajikarao, inserted his arms into the crack and
cleared the rocks. The sun then returned to the earth. Uzume’s dance is
regarded as the origin of kagura.
2Since the kagura revived in an area, it was practiced in 20 areas in 2011.
3This tradition includes Takachiho kagura, although kagura from areas
other than Takachiho are often performed in public buildings, in the areas
surrounding shrines, in prefabricated structures, or in theaters outside resi-
dential areas rather than in private hom es.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 307
has increased considerably during recent years4.
I attended 11 kagura during the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011
seasons. Information on the 11 areas is presented in Table 1. I
counted the number of audience members in and around the
kagurayado at the start of each dance. Because the audience
members were not uniformly distributed within the kagurayado
during performances, it was impossible to ascertain the exact
number of attendees. Thus, I approximated the number of au-
dience members, which was sufficient to reflect trends. Figure
1 shows two typical examples of the number of audience
members during kagura performed at a private home and a
public building, respect ive ly. The audience peaked earlier in the
public buildings than in the private homes. In the public build-
ings, the audience decreased to almost to its nadir by the finale
of kagura. In contrast, the number recovered to almost its peak
by the finale of performances at private homes. The minimal
audiences at midnight and at the finale of kagura performed in
public buildings compared with those performed in private
homes reflects the loss of the traditional meaning of kagura as a
festival event. Indeed, even those performances of kagura that
occurred at private homes included many tourists in the audi-
ences. Nowadays, residents cannot realistically ensure the sta-
bility of their community through kagura.
Thus far, this paper has introduced three dichotomous cate-
gories of people in Takachiho: community members versus
outsiders, residents versus tourists, and dancers versus audi-
ences5. Dancers are virtually necessarily residents, whereas
Table 1.
Kagurayado, experienced and young d ancers by area.
Kagurayado Experienced Young
2009-2010 2010-2011 Present
age Start
age Present
age Start
A Private Private 58 18 37 33
B Private Private 76 17 30 23
C Private Private 60 18 34 11
D Private Private 57 20 20 8
E Private Private 57 17 23 11
F Public Private 71 18 27 11
G Public Public 61 17 18 3
H Public Public 58 20 26 23
I Public Public 54 30 32 24
J Public Public 56 14 22 19
K Private Public 72 30 37 35
audiences include residents and tourists. Thus, we can classify
people into dancers, residents in the audience, and tourists. The
issue in this regard is where to locate the boundary between
community members and outsiders. Figure 2 presents four
hypotheses: 1) Community members are restricted to dancers,
whereas all audience members are outsiders. This hypothesis is
rejected because kagura is supported by many residents (Fuku-
shima, 2003); 2) All residents are community members, and all
tourists are outsiders. This hypothesis sounds naïve now be-
cause some residents origina ted from outside the rural commu-
nities; 3) Dancers and some of the residents in the audience are
community members, whereas the other residents in the audi-
ence and all tourists are outsiders. This hypothesis may be cor-
rect because some residents are not motivated to be embedded
in the rural communities, as implied in hypothesis 2; 4) Com-
munity members include dancers, some residents in the audi-
ence, and some tourists. This hypothesis may also be correct if
tourism associated with Takachiho kagura welcomed some
tourists as community members. If this hypothesis were sup-
ported, the creation of communities by residents and tourists
may be possible.
Experienced Dancers
In 2010, I interviewed 11 experienced dancers who served as
the leader in their respective areas (Table 1). All were patri-
archs. This section discusses the experienced dancers’ under-
standings of kagura. Hereafter, I will refer to each dancer in
Figure 1.
The numbers of audience members in a private home (solid curve: area
A, the 2010-2011 season) and in a public building (dashed curve: area J,
the 2009-2010 season). The d otted line indic ates 2 4:00.
4The two most famous magazines for domestic tourists, Rurubu (JTB coop-
eration) and Mappuru (Shoubun-sha cooperation), cover Takachiho kagura
every year. Rurubu initially covered not only Takachiho kagura but also
other kaguras performed in Miyazaki prefecture. Since 2002, the magazine
has devoted the most space to Takachiho kagura, and since 2007, the
magazine has included only Takachiho kagura. Mappuru also initially
covered many kaguras in the prefecture. Since 2004, however, it has pri-
marily covered Takachiho kagura, and since 2008, it has covered Taka-
chiho kagura exclusively.
5This paper intentionally avoided the use of notions related to hosts and
guests (Smith, 1989). Although thes e ideas are important in the sociology o
tourism, they may obscure the topic of this paper. Figure 2 .
Four hypotheses about the bound aries of community members.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
terms of the area of his kagura group.
Many experienced dancers reported that kagura was not a
show for an audience but rather a prayer to the spirits. In this
sense, they were sorry about the change in venue from private
homes to public buildings because the relationship between
residents and spirits changed accordingly. Dancer G told me
that the owners of kagurayado had assumed important roles,
including receiving gifts from the spirits (dancers). Kagura
performed in public buildings involved no such owners, and
spirits (dancers) had to select audience members to receive gifts
as part of the ceremony for the sake of convenience. Many
experienced dancers missed the intimate interactions among the
residents at old-style kagura performances.
Dancers in areas in which kagura could continue to be per-
formed in private homes took pride in their traditional kagura.
Dancer B proudly told me that their kagura was famous be-
cause they had defended their traditional styles by performing
kagura in private homes each year. He also shared his deeply
felt attitudes about local traditions, as represented by kagura.
Indeed, Dancer B thought that the traditions had made him a
man. Dancer C also told me that they would not stop perform-
ing kagura at private homes, and that they would continue to
pray for local spirits even if they could not perform kagura due
to depopulation and aging.
In contrast, some dancers expressed neutral or even positive
impressions of the change in kagurayado. Although they tenta-
tively told me the size of the audience for kagura did not matter,
they also eagerly welcomed large audiences. The audience
capacity is usually larger at public buildings than at private
homes. Indeed, public buildings also have more space for park-
ing, rendering kagura more accessible to tourists who travel
long distances by car. Dancer J told me that the influx of tour-
ists contributed to the beautiful dances in their kagura and
noted that the dancers in his group worked hard during training.
In areas F and K, residents performed kagura in both private
homes and public buildings. Leaders in both areas told me that
the atmosphere of kagura performed in private homes did not
differ from that performed in public buildings.
Some dancers created unique kagura based on interactions
with tourists. In area D, children younger than 18 played central
roles in kagura. The leader told me he started kagura that in-
volved primarily children after he assumed his position. He
hoped their kagura would become famous among the areas of
Takachiho by performing such unique kagura. Some years ago,
a woman was accidentally invited into the sacred place of ka-
gura in area H, a practice that was strictly forbidden in all other
areas of Takachiho. The woman married a man who was also
invited to the sacred place. The leader told me that the dancers
interpreted the consequence as the will of the spirits. Welcom-
ing women into kagura has now become part of a new local
culture in that area.
Dancer A told me they once changed their kagura so that au-
diences would be more likely to enjoy the performance. They
were proud that their kagura attracted large audiences at thea-
ters and prepared new costumes for kagura to impress audi-
ences. After the experience of presenting kagura in shows, they
also recognized the value of the traditional kagura and recently
returned to a traditional form. They currently use clothes that
were worn more than 200 years ago and have found that such
traditional kagura also attracted large audiences who sought
authentic culture.
Young Dancers
I asked each experienced dancer to introduce me to a young
dancer who was active in his group, and I also interviewed
these young dancers (Table 1). All were males.
It has often been assumed that young people leave rural areas
to go to cities to pursue jobs, studies, and leisure activities.
Thus, I asked the young dancers whether they wanted to leave
their rural areas and live in cities. Contrary to my expectations,
no respondent reported hoping to live in a city. Some had al-
ready left their hometowns and lived in cities, but they became
tired of city life and returned.
Dancer G lived together with their parents, and his father was
also a dancer in the kagura group. He told me that he had been
trying to find jobs in Takachiho since he was a child to enable
him to continue kagura and that he had been successful in these
efforts. In response to my asking why his desire to continue
kagura was so strong, he told me that performing kagura had
been fun during his childhood because it allowed him to earn
money. At present, he loved kagura as a sophisticated dance
and tried hard to perform his kagura with beauty. His father
told me that his son remained a novice because kagura was a
sacred matter involving the spirits. Nevertheless, he noted that
his son’s kagura was sophisticated and that he was proud of
him. Dancers in all areas and from different generations en-
gaged in many discussions pertinent to this research. Many
young dancers told me that they were pleased because kagura
had enabled them to develop friendships with local residents
from different generations.
Young dancers welcomed tourists from distant areas. Dancer
D made friends with a tourist who had taken a photo of his
kagura and had won a prize for it. Dancer H told me that he
tried hard to amuse tourists who had come to their kagura from
distant areas. All young dancers reported being happy about the
possibility of many tourists visiting their area to see kagura
because their area would be more likely become the site of a
large festival after such exposure. They wanted to continue the
tradition of these festivals for their own enjoyment as well as
for the enjoyment of residents and tourists. They seemed to
believe more strongly than did the experienced dancers in the
power of kagura to revitalize their areas.
Dancer A had lived in a city area outside of his home area for
more than 10 years before returning and working at the office
of tourism in Takachiho. His father was the leader of in the
kagura group I interviewed. Based on his experience of living
in a city for many years, he appreciated the value of kagura. He
told me that residents did not lose their identity because they
were naturally motivated to perform kagura. He also noted that
such local traditions in rural areas should be preserved not only
for the sake of residents but also for the sake of tourists. He
hoped that tourists would invest in each area, thereby enabling
additional residents to settle in these sites. He viewed this
process as a kind of eco-tourism, and he insisted on the impor-
tance of having a mediator between residents and tourists to
promote such eco-tourism.
Dancer K lived about 130 km from Takachiho and visited
Takachiho every week to perform kagura. Although he was
accepted by the leader as a dancer, many other dancers initially
distrusted him. However, after much training, he now said he
was accepted by the other dancers. He told me he would not
move to Takachiho. Instead, he wanted to remain an outsider to
advertise the kagura that was performed not only in area K but
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 309
also the kagura that was performed in all areas of Takachiho.
Indeed, he wanted to advertise kagura to all people around the
world as the Sarutahiko spirit, who mediated between the spir-
its of heaven and those of earth according to mythology.
I also interviewed audience members during kagura per-
formances. Because we spoke during kagura, each interview
was short. In total, I interviewed more than 100 audience
members, almost equally divided between males and females.
The interviewees ranged from children and elementary school
students to seniors who were older than 70. I did not sample
audiences systematically. In the following section, I will pre-
sent several typical audience members.
Some audience members were residents of Takachiho. For
them, kagura was a part of their everyday lives. To attend a
kagura festival was a duty of living in their area. Some had
lived in Takachiho many years ago. To see kagura was an op-
portunity for them to visit their homeland. Some were friends
or relatives of the dancers. They were invited by dancers to
kagura festivals. In response to my question about which ele-
ments of kagura appealed to them, they noted elements such as
the music, dances, and atmosphere. However, they sometimes
needed a longer time to respond, perhaps because kagura was
so natural to them, and they were not usually conscious of the
elements of kagura that held a particular fascination to them.
Some audience members were tourists seeing kagura for the
first time. They came from outside Takachiho, including from
Miyazaki (90 km), Fukuoka (130 km), and even Tokyo (850
km). I asked them about which elements of kagura appealed to
them. Almost all noted that Takachiho was famous for kagura
and that they had been interested in kagura or Japanese tradi-
tion for a long time, wanting to see kagura at least once. Some
had seen kagura in other areas. They presented detailed expla-
nations about the various features of kagura that they found to
be fascinating. These elements included not only the music,
dances, and stories, but also the local tradition that transmitted
kagura for multiple generations as well as the friendly interac-
tions between dancers and audiences.
Some tourists found kagura through a community festival,
and a male tourist around 40 had performed kagura in another
area. His kagura was about to disappear due to depopulation,
aging, and changes in lifestyle, and he sought to identify the
factors that enabled kagura to be active in each area and to
attract many tourists. One woman around 30 worked in the field
of performing arts and was interested in the kagura stage, not-
ing that it was very polished, possibly because of its use by
multiple generations. Another woman around 30 drew pictures
to depict the intimate relationships between the people and the
spirits that appeared in kagura because she was fascinated by
the kagura festival.
Some tourists were repeat visitors with strong motivation to
continue to see kagura. One male well-known researcher of
kagura around 60 told me that he had continually attended
kagura festivals to study the evolution of masks. Some dancers
of Takachiho kagura wear masks to model the spirits, a practice
that informed him about how the masks had been used in an-
cient times. A female tourist around 40 produced Japanese
haiku poems an d was in tereste d in Japanese religious traditions,
particularly those transmitted in rural areas. To deepen her
knowledge of rural religions and her haikus, she attended ka-
gura on a regular basis. A male tourist around 50 continually
visited Takachiho to take photos of kagura. He told me about
his efforts to capture the fascinating features of kagura in his
photos; these efforts were unsuccessful because photos could
hardly grasp the intimate atmosphere or the spirits at kagura
festivals. These people had intimate friendships with some of
the residents. Indeed, some residents welcomed the repeat visi-
tors into their drinking groups during kagura.
Some tourists visited Takachiho frequently not only to see
kagura but also to support the community. A woman around 50
had visited an area of Takachiho 7 years earlier for the first
time and had continued to visit the area since that time. During
the past 4 years, she had guided dozens of tourists to the area
every year. By inviting many tourists and encouraging them to
invest in the area, she was trying to support the local dancers
both financially and emotionally. A man around 40 had once
visited Takachiho as a tourist and later moved to Takachiho.
This individual was often asked to guide tourists, playing a role
as a mediator between residents and tourists. He told me he
wanted to educate tourists about the significance of kagura
from an objective perspective, a task that was difficult for more
established residents because they could hardly be expected to
grasp kagura from the standpoint of a tourist. Thus, he tried to
provide a bridge between residents and tourists.
Audiences for traditional Takachiho kagura were almost al-
ways limited to local residents. Relationships between dancers
and audiences were close, which was a feature of classical ka-
gura festivals. Interactions between dancers and audience
members served to stimulate the community. In contrast, the
influx of tourists from outside of Takachiho is a feature of con-
temporary Takachiho kagura. The cooperative formation of
communities by dancers and audiences appears less likely now
because contemporary audiences include many tourists. Danc-
ers and audience members can hardly be expected to engage in
intimate interactions given the reservations held about one an-
other. Many experienced dancers miss traditional kagura, in
which dancers and audience members interacted intimately in
private homes.
Nevertheless, this study showed that residents could create a
community by cooperating with tourists. Tourists encouraged
residents to continue kagura and to reinforce their local identity.
Indeed, some experienced dancers approved of the changes in
kagurayado because the use of public buildings allowed more
tourists to attend performances. Some experienced dancers
recreated their traditions in response to tourist demand. Some
young dancers tried to stimulate their rural communities by
welcoming tourists to their kagura festivals. Some tourists
harbored particular motivations to attend kagura festivals and
to stimulate rural communities. Thus, residents and tourists can
construct kagura in cooperation with each other. Through
communication between residents and tourists, kagura is con-
tinually reformed; kagura thus becomes a symbol of the com-
munity shared by residents and tourists.
It is often assumed that globalization or the influx of outsid-
ers to an area likely leads to the disappearance of local commu-
nities and their cultures. However, globalization does not al-
ways destroy or ruin local culture; rather, globalization can
sometimes promote the revival of local culture through the
influx of welcome and helpful outsiders. After freeing them-
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
selves from unwanted social constraints, many people are eager
to be embedded in a community (Beck et al., 1994) in which
they find commonalities with other members. People often
create such communities with the aid of tradition (Hobsbawm
& Ranger, 1983). Takachiho kagura has a long history that may
date to more than 1000 years ago. The content of kagura has
changed continually since its inception, and this process of
change continues. Although the content of kagura may change,
its authenticity must remain intact because residents establish
their identity through this tradition. Indeed, contemporary ka-
gura brings great meaning to residents.
Tourists often have strong effects on local societies, whereas
residents scarcely influence tourists. This asymmetrical rela-
tionship between residents and tourists is often a barrier to in-
timate interactions between the two groups (Smith, 1989).
However, in Takachiho, some tourists have been strongly in-
fluenced by kagura, even creating new identities by attending
their performance. In a critical response to the image that tour-
ists seek only superficial experiences (Boorstin, 1962), Mac-
Cannell (1973) defined pilgrimage tourists as those who try to
find authentic culture. Pilgrimage tourists are expected to
communicate well with residents and may also create commu-
nities with residents.
This study suggested that some dancers, immigrants, and
tourists adopted important roles as mediators to bridge the gap
between residents and tourists. Horiuchi (2008) discussed the
role of mediators in decreasing the stress experienced by groups
who are separated by distinctions of some sort. In contexts in
which people differ significantly from one another, outsiders
who have moved between or among groups are often expected
to take on the role of mediators (Horiuchi, 2011). Kito (1998)
discussed the importance of outsiders in environmental move-
ments. Freed from any connection within the area, outsiders can
objectively understand local values and thus act as mediators.
Of all the participants in this study, outsiders were most con-
scious of the maintenance of the community. They therefore
tried to act as bridges between residents and tourists.
If mediators bridge differences between peoples, bridging
should count as social capital. Granovetter (1973) showed that
people benefited from weak ties with people of different groups
in the sense that they could use these connections to find good
jobs; weak ties may also contribute to the development of
whole communities. Putnam (2000) discussed the differences
between bonding and bridging social capital. The development
of bridging social capital, in which people from different
groups interact with one another, enables the stimulation of an
entire community. Mediators can revitalize rural communities
by bridging the gap between residents and tourists.
Bauman (2001) described two classes of people: people of
the lower class, who are restricted by space, and people of the
upper class, who are restricted by time. The former are losing
local communities, whereas the latter do not sympathize with
local communities. However, this study showed that local
communities are created by residents who could leave but de-
cided to settle in their home town. Local communities are also
created by tourists who seek community with local residents.
We cannot simply regard the residents as people of the lower
class and tourists as people of the upper class. Indeed, people of
the middle class may play central roles in revitalizing local
communities, and it is clear that members of the middle class
continually try to find their identities. People who are anxious
about their identities often create communities that exclude
non-members (Young, 1999). The communities of Takachiho
kagura, however, do not exclude outsiders. Rather, some out-
siders act as mediators that bridge the gap between residents
and tourists and thereby activate local communiti es.
At this point, we can identify where the boundary between
community members and outsiders is situated. Of the four hy-
potheses introduced, hypothesis 4 is likely supported. Media-
tors are important to making the creation of a cooperative
community involving residents and tourists possible. Also nec-
essary is the existence of a local culture that attracts residents
and tourists. To enable the development of a comprehensive
understanding of the features of local cultures that attract resi-
dents and tourists, I suggest that several members of each group
be designated as mediators. Additionally, further research is
needed to understand the factors that contribute to community
creation. It is possible that the local culture of created commu-
nities may need to be rooted in the history and nature of the
place itself, which would allow all participants to view the ex-
istence of the community represented by the local culture as
natural (Horiuchi, 2012).
I thank the dancers and audiences of Takachiho kagura for
their cooperation. I also thank S. Ogata who introduced me the
details of Takachiho kagura. I thank the members of Tokyo
Meeting for Mathematical Sociology and the members of Re-
search Group for Common Pool Resources for discussions.
This research was financially supported by Grant-in-Aid for
Young Scientists (B) “The Conditions for the Residents of
Mountains Areas and Urban Areas Cooperate Together” and
Meiji University Global COE program “Formation and Devel-
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