On Saturday, March 3, an event to recreate the “Kadozuke” of Takada goze, female traveling entertainers who are blind, took place in the Takada district of Joetsu City, Niigata Prefecture, with shamisen music and singing echoing through the streets of Gangi-dori.
From the Edo period to around 1965, Takada blind female traveling entertainers, Takada goze, were active in Takada, Joetsu City. At its peak in the mid-Meiji period, there were approximately 90 people living in the townhouse area of Takada. The “Kadozuke” is a performance of shamisen music and songs performed by blind female blind people at the entrance of their travel destinations and townhouses, and is reproduced every year by the NPO Society for Preservation and Transmission of Takada Goze’s Culture.
The shamisen player is Ms. Yukiko Tsukioka, a Tokyo resident. Ms. Tsukioka has been participating in the festival since 2009, having received direct instruction in playing and singing from a goze about 25 years ago. Behind Ms. Tsukioka, three people, including a person selected from the public, will follow her on foot.
The group, dressed in “kakumaki” and “kasa,” winter clothes for snow country, walked from Takada Komachi, a townhouse exchange center in Honmachi 6-chome, to Ganki-dori and other areas, and performed “kadozuke,” a performance of shamisen and singing at the nearby former Imai Dyeing Shop and Goze Museum Takada.
Residents who knew “Goze” at that time
In those days, there was nothing to see. The villagers used to look forward to the days when the goze would come and tell us stories. Now that the younger generation will take over, the atmosphere will be different.
Many amateur photographers from all over the country also gathered on this day to take pictures of the former Takata landscape.
Shamisen player Yukiko Tsukioka
It is a very sobering experience for me to perform in a town where blind people actually lived and worked. I want the local people to know that there were people who had such a wonderful art. I hope I can help.”
The NPO encourages visitors to enjoy the event while observing good manners, as many people come to see the gatotsuki every year, but on the other hand, they sometimes get into trouble over taking pictures.
Address: 6-3-4 Honmachi, Joetsu City, Niigata Prefecture
Access: <On foot> A 10-minute walk from Takada Station on the Echigo Tokimeki Railway.