From March 2012 Yomitan Murasaki Mura will promote tourism with karate

From March 2012 Yomitan Murasaki Mura will promote tourism with karate

On December 16 at the Prefectural Government Offices, Shingo Kuniyoshi, Planning Manager of the Yomitan Kukuru Resort announces a tourism promotion model project utilizing branding of Okinawan karate.

December 17, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

On December 16 at the Prefectural Government Offices, representatives of Yomitan Kururu Resort Okinawa, which manages the Taiken Okoku Murasaki Mura in Yomitan, met with executives from four other firms and announced that they will commence a model project to promote tourism by building a brand that utilizes Okinawa’s traditional karate. From March 2012, based in Murasaki Mura, they will commence three projects including a company orientation program with karate, karate trial lessons, and a karate show in conjunction with Ryukyuan dance.

This is a prefectural 2011 industry collaboration model project and the total cost is 35 million yen. Thirteen employees have been newly hired for the project.

At Murasaki Mura, about 1000 people each year, mostly students on school excursions, experience the existing karate trial course. Collaborating with tour companies, Murasaki Mura wants to attract company trips and to increase the use of company orientation programs that use karate. On December 21, there will be a trial company orientation.

The story-telling karate show, which is based on aspects of the history of Okinawa including the Satsuma invasion and the Battle of Okinawa, is produced by a Ryukyuan Performing Arts producer, Michihiko Kakazu. Jungo Matsuda karate shihan master from the World Oshu-kai Kobayashi-ryu Kobudo Renmei, who instructs karate for the show said, “The show embraces the history and culture of Okinawa. There is a philosophy of accepting rather than defeating an opponent. I would like to promote this good philosophy of life more to Okinawans, Japanese and people overseas.

Toru Iketani, division director from Roots, which is in charge of the company orientation program using karate, stated, “The spirituality of traditional karate can be utilized in business. We would like companies from other prefectures to come to Okinawa for their orientation programs and hopefully help promote those industries locally. Companies in Okinawa may also use the program.”

Tamotsu Ganaha, director from Vision Project that handled the model project, said, “Although there is a difficult aspect to connecting tradition with business, using the karate show as the main source of revenue and appealing to tourists with the orientation programs, we would like to draw attention to tourism and eventually even attract people from overseas.”

(English translation by T&CT, Megumi Chibana and Mark Ealey)

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