The detailed history behind this Shishi Dance was lost to a fire a long time ago. According to the oral tradition, the festival used to be a ritual of a shrine in Soikawa village (not existing anymore), rebuilt in 1681 in Ryôsho Shrine (Yamagata City).
We estimate the first Ryôsho shrine was built around 700 years ago, during Kamakura Period (1185-1333). A Lieutenant called Umezu 梅津中将 was dispatched by the authorities to administrate Mt. Haguro. Umezu built a castle to live in Soikawa during his administration period. In the castle's shrine, Umezu sanctified the gods of Mt. Chokai (Ômonohime no ôkami 大物忌大神) and Mt. Gassan (Gassan no ôkami 月山大神). This shrine is what will become the Ryôsho Shrine 両所神社. The military revolts during the Tenshô era (late 16th century) led Umezu to leave the castle. As a result, the religious activities in Ryôsho Shrine stopped and the festival could not be held anymore.
In tribute to the original place of the festivities, the people of Soikawa organize the same festival on the Soikawa river's banks every year on August 18th.
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