The Muramatsu-Gear (Le Sacre du Printemps)

The "Muramatsu-Gear" is said to be one of the traditional events held by Russian aborigines, GIYACK, who lived in the east side of Hokkaido (the northern part of Japan, called Ezo in those days) until the middle of the Meiji era (the late nineteenth century). The strange custom was named after Yusaku Muramatsu (being called Yuta in his childhood) in the fief of Matsumae, who engaged in the aborigines' field survey.

In the village of GIYACK, on every January 8 (according to the present calendar), the "Muramatsu-Gear" is said to be held as a festival to invite spring. For them who lived on the severe land, it was the most important festival that symbolized a rebirth from death (winter), a birth of new life, and a new generation.

Seventeen females formed a circle (large circle) facing toward the center and five males formed a circle (small circle) inside the large circle turning round inscribing the large one like two meshing gears. The large circle symbolized the only living area formed in the dead cosmos extending infinitely and the small circle symbolized humans and animals who enjoyed their transitory life in the small cosmos protected by the large one, which is commented as a moving mandala expressing GIYACK's vision of the universe symbolically.

Yusaku Muramatsu reported that the elder chose seventeen females and five males who took part in this rite. See the below instructions to play "Muramatsu-Gear."

According to the record, other than the sound made by men's bells and castanets (a musical instrument for making sound by striking two pieces of wood together), there was voice sound made by women; each of women had her specific pitch and sang her own pitch at the state of "earth" (together with the sound of castanets), which sounded like a femal chorus as a whole. At present, there is no clue to further details.

One theory holds that the changes of the states of "man and woman forming a point of contact by being inscribed" show the consensus of heaven and earth (the area of life and death), a reconciliation, sexual union, or the exchange of genes. Actually, GIYACK is known as being polygamous.

Such movement by men who go around like butterflies among many women (3.4 times as many as men in this rite) seems to us immoral and funny, but it is said that it tells their everyday life of the minority race in a harsh nature, and their severe history of the men who were always in short in number in the village, not only because of conflicts among tribes, but also the later invasion by the Yamato race (today's Japanese).

Photo (please see the end of this page): Reproduction of "Muramatsu-Gear"
by the members of the Society for Researching Local Customs in Hokkaido (at Hokkaido Unversity of Education Sapporo).

Let's Play The Muramatsu-Gear !

Players: 17 women and 5 men
Instruments: 5 jingle bells and 5 castanets


The women should form an evenly-spaced circle formation, facing towards the center.

Men are to form a smaller circle, which is to be enclosed by the larger women's cirlce. Men are positioned so that there is only one man facing one of the women.

All male players hold castanets in their left hands and small bells in their right hands.

Participants choose whether they are "heaven" or "earth". Those who are "heaven" raise their right hand to the sky.

The man-woman couple facing each other change their status according to the following rules:
If both are "heaven", they remain "heaven".
If one of them is "earth", they both become "earth".
If both of them are "earth", they both become "heaven".

The two players raise their hands accordingly and they both ring the man's bell if their new status is "heaven" and his castanets if it is "earth".

The smaller circle moves so that the man to the immediate right of the male player becomes face to face with the woman immediate left to the female player.

These new players change their status according to the rules above, and the game moves on by repeating the subsequent steps.







出会った時の状態> 新しい状態
女=天 男=天 > 女=天 男=天
女=天 男=地 > 女=地 男=地
女=地 男=天 > 女=地 男=地
女=地 男=地 > 女=天 男=天





Download simulation software of The Muramatsu-Gear
(788Kb only for MacOS 8.x-9.x ..sorry)
Please load 3 sound files manually before clicking the start/stop button.

NEW! : Sounds of the Muramatsu-Gear a la Hiroshima (mp3)

About Reverse-Simulation Music (Email-Bulletin "METHOD" #20)

村松ギヤ拡張版:波動昇降/鈴掛マタリ by 村松ギヤ・エンジン

広島風波動昇降/鈴掛マタリ by 村松ギヤ・エンジン