A Sailing Tradition

The Treasures of Ise-Shima National Park


The Shima Peninsula, which is located in southern Mie Prefecture, along with the surrounding Ise-Shima National Park, is mostly privately owned: A remarkable ninety-six percent of the land, in fact. That means that both nature and humans have coexisted there since ancient times, with the area boasting a deep history and culture that have been passed down to today. For several centuries, Anori Puppet Play has been performed at Anori Shrine, which stands on Cape Anori within Shima City, Mie Prefecture. Its roots stretch back to 1592, when the naval commander Yoshitaka Kuki, who served Nobunaga Oda as well as Hideyoshi Toyotomi, was sailing off the cape on his way to an invasion of a foreign land. Owing to adverse headwinds, he was forced to make a land evacuation on a beach near Anori, at which time he paid a visit to what is now Anori Shrine, where he prayed for safety on the upcoming ocean voyage and victory in the battle. Later, after the battle, he returned to the village and paid another visit to the shrine, this time to give thanks. There, he and his entourage were entertained by a puppet play—it is said that the event initiated the tradition of the performances.