One area where the language and culture of Ryukyu is being kept alive is in its performing arts through music and dance. One of the annual events to showcase the arts is the “Shinshun Minyou Kouhaku Uta Gassen” broadcasted by RBC (Ryukyu Broadcasting Corporation). To celebrate the show’s 60th anniversary, Kita no Akainku is sharing 4 airings starting with the 20th show from 1982, the 30th show from 1992, the 40th show from 2002, and the 50th show from 2016. The shows will only be up till 2/28 21:00 (Okinawa time) so please don’t miss them! Also, be sure to read the show notes as there is important information regarding the program.
Hirata Daiichi will be taking his one-man show “Nantoushijin” performance to Naha’s Tenbusu Hall on 11/23.
The video digest is from “Ryukyu Classical Performing Arts Meet the 25 String Koto”, a concert that took place last December featuring top artists from Luchu classical music and dance. It’s interesting hearing the classic songs arranged for the 25 string koto as well as Nakai Tomoya’s original songs and we’re grateful for the English subtitles and translations in the video description section. This is a must watch video if only for the explanation each artist gives for their instrument.
The National Theatre Okinawa recently shared promotional videos on their YouTube channel with versions in English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, and Korean (the latter three are subtitled only). The videos are narrated in English by Yonashiro Sho of the idol pop group JO1.
National Theatre Okinawa’s building, as seen in the video, was built in a style reminiscient of home architecture dating back to the when Okinawa was still the Ryukyu Kingdom. Its walls bend outward at the top, creating shade from sun and rain, and are styled in the form of woven bamboo “chinibu” walling.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_-mimOtT9s
Although the 6-episode web drama “Ghosts Can’t Dance (Yūrei wa Odorenai)” was uploaded to YouTube back in March, I finally finished watching it recently and it’s so good (lots of feels)! Anyone with an interest in Ryukyu culture (both pop and traditional) shouldn’t miss this. The web drama is produced by the Kariyushi Geinou Kouen (Traditional Okinawan Performing Arts) and features the original theme song “Don’t forget” by upcoming singer-songwriter Kina Kanon.
YouTube link to the first episode of “Ghosts Can’t Dance”.
Idol group Chuning Candy recently shared a YouTube clip of their new single MOVING ON!! (April 7th digital release) showcasing their amazing dance performance (just a reminder that their dance performance of Dynamic Ryukyu has over 3-million views on YouTube).
The title of the new single is interesting (coincidental?) given the April 24th sad news that member Sophie was leaving the group which now has Kotone, Lili, Yuuri, and Aiko as the remaining members. Let’s wish Sophie and the rest of the members the best for 2021!
3rd Eisa Drum Festival at Kapi’olani Community College on May 11th
A Celebration of Okinawan Culture with Drums, Lions, Music, and Karate
Kapi’olani Community College and the Office of Student Activities are pleased to present the third Eisa Drum Festival on Saturday, May 11 from 5:30 to 9 pm, on the Great Lawn (center of campus). The outdoor festival brings together ‘ono food prepared by Kapi’olani CC culinary program and the spectacular art form of taiko performed amid the beauty of Diamond Head under the stars. The program begins at 6 pm. The event is free and open to the public, with ample parking on campus.
Performers include Chinagu Eisa Hawai’i, Hawai’i Okinawa Creative Arts, Hawai’i Taiko Kai, Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Karate and Urizun Minyo Group. This year’s festival also features special guest performers from Okinawa, including Daiichi Hirata, acclaimed producer, choreographer, and musician, as well as members of Requios, the 2012 World Eisa Competition winner.
Eisa is a form of dance and drumming unique to the people of Okinawa. Originally performed as part of a religious function honoring those who have passed, modern Eisa is an exhilarating combination of singing, chanting, dancing and drumming. In Okinawa and Hawai’i, Eisa continues to be performed at Bon Dances. This year’s festival will feature contemporary styles of drumming, with Okinawan taiko, karate, lions, and contemporary folk music.
“The first two festivals have been described as ‘magical’ and we hope to continue that tradition in our third year,” said Shari Tamashiro, Kapi’olani CC Cybrarian, and one of the coordinators of the festival. “We’re also very pleased to have celebrity chef instructor Grant Sato and Kapi’olani CC’s famous culinary program managing the food booths.”
“The bringing together of Island People, Daiichi Hirata from Okinawa and Kawika Napoleon from Hawai’i, was so dynamic. . . it brought forth a sense of joy and pride from within,” said Dorene Niibu of Windard CC.
“When I think of Eisa Fest, I think of it as the first major event of the summer,” said Jonathan Wong, faculty member at Kapi’olani CC. “To me, it signals that summer is here and what better way to start the summer off with a bang than with drums, food, music and stars.”
Enjoy an evening under the stars. Bring lawn chairs to sit on, blankets, and jackets. Up to date information on program, schedule, parking, maps, and food items on sale will be posted at http://www.facebook.com/eisahawaii. Alcohol is strictly prohibited at the event.
Jimpu Kai USA Kin Ryosho Ryukyu Geino Kenkyusho, Hawaii Shibu, under the direction of Cheryl Yoshie Nakasone, is proud to present a series of lecture-demonstrations by Mr. Sekiyu Chinen, a guest artist from Okinawa. Having studied uta-sanshin, dance, and kumiwudui under Master Kin Ryosho for almost forty years, Mr. Chinen is one of the last performers of Shuri-style kumiwudui in Okinawa. He would like to share his passion for Okinawa performing arts with the people of Hawaiʻi. The lecture-demonstrations are free and open to the public. Donations are welcome.
The lecture-demonstrations are scheduled on these dates:
Thursday, July 12: Hilo Nichiren Mission, 6:00 PM
Wednesday, July 18: Hawaii Okinawan Center, Serikaku Chaya, 7:00 PM (download flyer, PDF 157 KB)
Sunday, July 22: UHM Music Building, Room 36, 10:00 AM
Sunday, July 29: Maui Okinawan Cultural Center, 10:00 AM
Maui Okinawa Taiko and Jimpu Kai Maui will have a joint anniversary recital on Sunday, 24 June 2012, at the Baldwin High School Auditorium. The recital, which starts at 2:00pm, celebrates Maui Okinawa Taiko’s 15th anniversary and Jimpu Kai Maui’s 10th anniversary.
Tickets are $12.00 for general admission and $10.00 for seniors 55 and over and children 12 and under. For more information, call the Maui Okinawa Cultural Center at (808) 242-1560.
Download the flyer (JPG, 103 KB)
(h/t Char Gima)