Really cool website from the Nakagusuku Village Office (shared on Twitter by the Nakagusuku Village Tourist Association) called “The Gosamaru Chronicle” that’s available in several languages (in English too). We love the manga look of the website and that there’s so much information about Gosamaru (a lot of love and care went into this) — the “Gosamaru-Amawari Disturbance” has the makings of a summer blockbuster movie. There are also 20 videos (around 3 minutes 30 seconds for each) with English subtitles, so settle down with some chinsukou and sanpincha and let’s learn Gosamaru’s story together!
It is said that the first castle with full-scale stone masonry in Japan was Komakiyama Castle, built by Oda Nobunaga in 1563. This reveals that Ryukyu had developed stone fortification techniques more than 120 years earlier than Japan, and thus proves Gosamaru as a genius of fortification who promoted these advanced techniques.
Photo & Catchcopy Contest is open to children enrolled in elementary, junior high, high school, and special schools in Uchinaa.
Kajadifu Video Contest is open to all Uchinānchu and they’re looking for video performances of “Kajadifu” (YouTubers Ryukatsutyu has a perfect example of this) showcasing the scenery from your part of the world. A special note to add that you will be using their recording of “Kajadifu” that can be downloaded on the contest’s webpage. Even if you don’t participate in the contest, be sure to download the song as it’s an amazing recording by Higa Yasuharu-shinshii (Ryūkyū Koten Ongaku Nomura-ryū Hozonkai).
Ryūka Contest looks like it’s open to all Uchinānchu (although it’s not clearly stated) and the rules are simple since it has to be a san-pachi-rokuRyūka and use Shimakutuba.
While it’s only in Japanese, there’s a YouTube channel called Okinawa History Club (沖縄歴史倶楽部チャンネル) run by historian Maeda Yuuki (links to his Twitter profile). He has videos of Zoom sessions as well as walking tours of Ryukyu history. The 4-part series for the Ryukyu dance “Nubui Kuduchi” is of particular interest as he retraces the path from the Shuri Castle area to Naha Port.
The cast is led by ParanaiSaranai’sChinen Shingo (he’s also the first Kanai/Ryujin Mabuyer!) as King Shō En and features actors and actresses from Okinawa. I found the DVD for sale on Amazon Japan but it’s region code 2 (not playable on US players) so I may have to go the Paravi route which is at least offering 2 weeks for free.
Actress Meisa Kuroki has been chosen to star in the play ‘Onna Nobunaga,’ based on the book of the same name by Naoki Prize-winning author Kenichi Sato. The story, set during the Sengoku period, is based on the premise that Oda Nobunaga was actually female. Kuroki will of course play the role of Nobunaga.
Kuroki will be supported by singer and musical actor Akinori Nakagawa, playing the role of the samurai Akechi Mitsuhide. Nakagawa is a rising talent in the world of stage musicals, having earned multiple awards since starring in ‘Mozart!’ in 2002.
‘Onna Nobunaga’ will be performed at Tokyo’s Aoyama Theatre on June 5-21, followed by shows in Osaka at Theater BRAVA! on June 26-28.
In celebration of Sanshin Day, March 4, I’m featuring a Ryūkyū Koten Ongaku (Ryūkyū classical music) song called “Kajadifū Bushi (かぎやで風節).” It has a bit of history for myself as the first song I learned on uta-sanshin from Katsumi Shinsato-sensei some fifteen years ago and I’ve been playing it ever since. Here’s a little background information on the song from Naganori Komine’s Okinawan Poetry: A Translation of Okinawan Poems from the KUN-KUN-SI (The Textbook of Okinawan song).
There are several different interpretations of the background of this song.
(1) There was a mute prince in the Ryūkyū kingdom. A high ranking clansmen named Ūaragusiku was grieved by this. One day, the prince found out that he was being considered to be the King’s successor. The prince demonstrated that he had just been pretending to be dumb in order to see what was going on among his followers. Watching the scene, the clansmen Ūaragusiku express his joy in this verse.
(2) A blacksmith, or KANJAYA named Okuma, helped Prince Shoen when there was a crisis. After that, when Shoen inherited the kingdom, Okuma became a clansmen. The blacksmith expressed his joy in this verse.
KIYU NU FUKURASHA YA Today’s joyous occasion,
NAWUNI JANA TATIRU To what can we compare it?
TSIBUDI WURU HANANU It’s like a bud waiting to bloom,
Norman Kaneshiro-sensei emailed information on an Okinawan music and dance performance his group has lined up for March 28, 2008, a Saturday. Titled “Loochoo nu Kwa, Children of Loochoo,” the performance featuring the talented members of Ukwanshin Kabudan will be held at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center (<rant>for those like me who are irritated by websites that resize your browser’s window, this is one of them</rant>). Ukwanshin Kabudan has a blog too! Way to go, guys. 🙂
BREEZES FROM LANDS BELOW THE WINDS IN THE RYUKYUS
Southeast Asian Influences in Okinawan Culture
Wednesday, 22 August 2007
Tokioka Room, Moore Hall 319
Between the 14th and 16th centuries, the Ryukyu Kingdom was the main trade link between East and Southeast Asia, even transporting goods from SouthAsia to China and Japan. The impact of these early contacts with Java, Thailand, Laos and Malaysia still
appear today in various aspects of Okinawan culture, especially textiles, dance, music and language.
This talk will cover the history of Ryukyuan contacts with the “Lands Below the Winds”, the places that the monsoon blew its ships down to. Through a variety of visual and audio examples, it will show how Okinawa absorbed and transformed cultural influences from Southeast Asia.
The presenter is Garrett Kam, who was born in Hawai’i and finished his M.A. Asian Studies at UHM. He has been living in Southeast Asia for over 20 years, especially on Java and Bali.
Sponsored by the Center for Japanese Studies (go COS!) and the Asian Studies Program through its Freeman Foundation Artist in Residence project.