Here’s some great Okinawan music to listen to at the end of the year. It’s my latest music mix for K.O.L. Radio and it’s online now with a link below…Okinawan Classics Mix
It’s hard to believe that the book The Power of Okinawa: Roots Music from the Ryukyus is already celebrating its 20th anniversary this month. For it …The Power of Okinawa – 20th Anniversary
While the duo is currently on hiatus, they made an appearance on NHK Okinawa’s “Uchinaa de Asobo” show which aired on 9/24 with a second showing on 10/1. They have kept archives of past video segments like the stories, songs, and theatre (Koja Misako’s in the “Ganchoo” episode!) so we’re hoping that they’ll upload i-Dushi’s appearance too.
Here is my latest music mix which can be listened to now online at K.O.L. Radio. This time it’s a mix of songs from the Sakishima Islands that …Sakishima Islands Mix
This new album by singer and sanshin player Tadayuki Matsubara (released under the full title Churaumi, Churashima ~ Ayagu, Miyako no Uta ~) is, as …Tadayuki Matsubara: Churaumi, Churashima
The English Football League Championship has just been won by the club I support. This means next season Norwich City will play in the Premier League…Speak, Okinawa
This year’s 33rd HIFF will feature a film shot on location in Okinawa titled “Dancing Karate Kid (Ryukyu Battle Royale)”. The film is directed by Tsukasa Kishimoto and stars former Johnny’s Jr. idol Joey Beni, gravure idol Yui Koike, and karateka Akihito Yagi.
Synopsis from HIFF’s website by Jason Musni Soeda:
Ken Sawamura is a handsome, young hip-hop dancer traipsing his way through Okinawa. With little more than a ghetto blaster, he wanders into a small town hoping to perfect his own style of dance. His liquid smooth, body waving dance moves capture the attention of Iwao Shinjo, an old Ryukyu dance master who believes “a good dancer is also a good fighter.” Ken begins learning Iwao’s folksy dance steps, not realizing his new routines are taking on the form of legendary Ryukyu karate! Also in the mix is Misako, Iwao’s perky and hot-blooded granddaughter, who sees Ken as potential husband material. This should be an ideal situation, but Ken quickly finds himself at odds with local yakuza, a rival karate club master and a centuries-old Okinawan tradition, “the battle for the bride.”
Screens on Sunday, 20 October 2013, at 4:00 PM.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 27,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 6 Film Festivals
This film. Amazing. Following up on a post from about a week ago, today was the HIFF 2012 screening of director Claude Gagnon’s “Karakara.” The director was at the screening so there was an interview and Q&A after the film. First of all, he was surprised that the theatre was packed since he called the 12:00pm screening “early” and although I took a few photos with my iPhone, I later kicked myself for not having recorded audio of the interview and Q&A session. There were some interesting things he said about filming in Okinawa but the thing I’ll share with Karakui.com readers is his mentioning Yukito Ara and how much he admires him and the musician’s ability to create modern music that’s still very much Okinawan. The majority of the soundtrack by Yukito-san is instrumental (his soulful sanshin playing) and a song with vocals (the duo he put together with guitarist Isamu Shimoji called SAKISHIMA meeting) comes at the end credits.
The film was chosen as one of HIFF’s “2012 Film For Thought” and there was a brochure passed out at the entrance to the theatre with a nice write-up by University of Hawaii at Manoa Professor Christine Yano. (If you missed it or want to get your hands on one, HIFF has a PDF version available for download.)
I’ve had the opportunity to watch a large number of films shot in Okinawa and the majority of them have relied heavily on a fantasy aspect of the island so although “magic” was mentioned quite a few times in the film, I was relieved that there was no actual magic taking place. 🙂 It was also nice seeing a director who wasn’t from mainland Japan film in Okinawa and I feel that it brought about a different perspective than what I’ve been used to (like the before mentioned fantasy aspect). For that reason, I was surprised to find an optimistic ending rather than one of tragedy (I’m trying my best not to have any spoilers of the film so excuse me for being vague). Among many things related to Okinawa, the film does allude to the U.S. military base problem (it’s mentioned that 20% of Okinawa is military bases) but before getting too political, Youki Kudoh’s character (she’s still so beautiful!) says instead to look at the beauty of the island around you as there’s not much two people can do to change things. (Later in the film there’s a bit that mentions filmmaker Michael Moore to bring it to his attention.)
The film will have a second screening tomorrow (Monday, 10/15/12) at HIFF 2012 and I highly recommend it. There doesn’t seem to be an official English-language website for the film — tho there’s mention that it’s in the works — but there is a Japanese-language one. In the meantime, if you’re interested in the film, I think it’s best to follow their Facebook page which is updated regularly.