Three performers of Okinawan origin win the top awards in the Ryukyu Classical Art Contest

Three performers of Okinawan origin win the top awards in the Ryukyu Classical Art Contest

Three performers who won top awards of ryubu, (from the left) Eliza Miyuki Miyagi, Satoru Saito, Akiko Yamauchi, on August 30, at the Ryukyu Shimpo Hall.


September 2, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

At the 46th Ryukyu Classical Art Contest (sponsored by the Ryukyu Shimpo), held in August, three performers of Okinawan origin from Brazil and the United States were awarded passes in the top award section of the ryubu or Ryukyu Classical Dance. They are Satoru Saito, a 24 year-old resident of Sao Paulo, Eliza Miyuki Miyagi, a 26 year-old resident of Naha City, and Akiko Yamauchi, a 26 year-old resident of Los Angeles. They won their awards on the back of their efforts to continue to learn the arts of their roots.

A third-generation Okinawan born in Sao Paulo, Saito’s grandparents were from what was formerly Ozato Village. He began to learn ryubu at the age of five. At the age of seven, he visited Okinawa for the first time to join the Tamagusuku Ryu Senju Kai. He spent one year studying at the Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts and now is a fourth-year student of University Uninove in Sao Paulo. He has leave of absence from his university for three months from June to prepare for the contest in Okinawa. He said, “I am overwhelmed by feelings of gratitude towards my teachers. I love the performing arts of Okinawa and I would like to convey them to the people of Brazil.”

Miyagi, who was born in Sao Paulo and has a second-generation Okinawan father, started to learn ryubu at the age of 13. She studied at the Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts when she was 20 and after finishing her studies there continued to practice in the Tamagusuku Ryu Gyokusen Kai, supporting herself by working at a post office. When she passed at the top level of the awards, Miyagi smiled as she said, “I really wanted to give a more powerful performance. I would like to perform classical and new dances. Ryubu allows me to connect with Okinawa.”

Yamauchi’s father was born in what used to be Koza City and her mother in Nago City. She was born in Los Angeles and began to learn ryubu at the age of seven. She belongs to the Tamagusuku Ryu Kansen Kai. Yamauchi said, “I feel my roots through ryubu. I am proud of being Uchinanchu and want to continue studying ryubu.” After receiving the top award, she said, “I still have many things to learn, and want to improve the quality of my performance. I would like to convey all that is good about ryubu.”

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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