Nishi-Shioko is a small settlement of less than 70 households where the problems of a low birth rate and the greying of society are deepening. After the assembly of the revolving stage in 1997, the Conservation Association came to the assessment that it would be virtually impossible for the people of Nishi-Shioko alone to carry out the future conservation and transmission of the stage. Thus from the following year a call was put out to other communities for help in assembling the stage, and from 2001 volunteers were recruited from a wider area. As a result, not only with the assembly of the stage but also help with stage equipment, costume production, dressing on the day of the performances, and scene changes was given by a group of volunteers that had grown to more than seventy people in 2006.
Special mention is due to the roughly 200 people, from primary school pupils to senior citizens, who participated as volunteers in the creation of the Heisei (the current Emperor’s era) main stage curtain, which took five years to complete. Learning from the main stage curtain of the Bunsei Era, for which the cotton was said to have been grown, spun into thread and woven into cloth locally, focusing on the weaving group active at the Resource Center, calls were put out to start by cultivating the cotton. The cultivation, spinning of the thread and weaving took three years. The textile dyeing artist Asai Ikkoh was requested to dye the curtain, which was finally unveiled at the 2006 performances.
These exchanges with the volunteers have been a great asset. We very much hope that the circle of human relations that has expanded through the activities related to the Nishi-Shioko Revolving Stage will continue to bring us renewed wisdom and the power to take action to preserve this wonderful cultural heritage.