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Bonzunahiki is a Buddhist memorial service that takes place on August 14 during the Bon (Respect for Ancestors) Festival.
On this day, children from the Hisatomi region dress up as “kamaban (hell’s gatekeeping)” devils, covering their bodies in soot and dawning straw skirts and rope headdresses shaped to look like horns. The children walk around the area pulling a 20 meter (roughly 66 foot) long, 30 centimeter (nearly one foot) thick rope in an effort to pull the unfortunate dead out of hell and console their spirits (and since around 1643, particularly the spirits of the great many children who died that year due to a severe famine).
Although one may be lead to believe that this is a tradition of Kumano Shrine since the children start and finish their march there, it is actually a Buddhist tradition that spans back to 1626, when Tokuzuiji Temple was completed. (Municipal-Designated Intangible Folk Cultural Asset)
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