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Tsuru-no-Mai: The Crane Dance in Kushiro City, Hokkaido and Its Cultural Significance

The Origin of Tsuru-no-Mai

Tsuru-no-Mai or the crane dance is an ancient Japanese tradition that started more than 1,000 years ago. The dance originated as a way of praying for a bountiful harvest and good fortune in the coming year. The Japanese people believed that the crane, with its long lifespan and graceful movements, brought good luck and prosperity. Thus, the crane dance was performed to honor the bird’s spirit and ask for its blessings.

The Crane Dance Performance and Its Cultural Significance

Kushiro City in Hokkaido is famous for its Tsuru-no-Mai performances during the autumn season when the cranes migrate back to Japan from Siberia. The traditional dance is presented by a group of performers who wear beautiful costumes and kimonos while moving gracefully like cranes. The dance is accompanied by the traditional Japanese music played with flutes and drums. The Tsuru-no-Mai dance is not only a form of entertainment but also a cultural heritage that symbolizes Japan’s deep respect for nature and its traditions. The crane dance represents the harmony between humans and nature, reminding people of the importance of living in harmony with the environment. Furthermore, the dance showcases the elegant and dignified features that are part of Japanese culture.

The Importance of Protecting the Cranes and the Environment

The crane dance has become more important than ever in modern times, with the increasing concerns about environmental issues and biodiversity loss. The Japanese people have realized the importance of preserving the natural environment and protecting the cranes, which are now an endangered species. Special efforts have been made to maintain the crane’s habitats and to educate people about conservation practices that are necessary to protect these magnificent birds for future generations. The Tsuru-no-Mai dance serves as a reminder of the importance of conserving nature and preserving Japan’s unique cultural heritage.


The crane dance in Kushiro City is a beautiful and significant cultural tradition that has been passed down through generations for over 1,000 years. The dance represents the deep respect that the Japanese people have for nature and the importance of living in harmony with the environment. It is also a timely reminder of the need to protect biodiversity and conserve natural resources. The Tsuru-no-Mai dance is a unique experience that showcases Japan’s rich cultural heritage and is an integral part of the country’s identity.
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