Shimauta live performance at the World Travel Fair 2012

<em>Shimauta</em> live performance at the World Travel Fair 2012

On May 10 at the Shanghai Exhibition Center, performers of shimauta danced the kachasi in the booth run by the Okinawan participants.

June 4, 2012 Ryota Kotani, Correspondent of the Ryukyu Shimpo

From May 10 to 13, the World Travel Fair 2012 was held at the Shanghai Exhibition Center in the Jingan district of Shanghai. Various countries and regions from around the world participated in the fair, running booths advertising aspects of their uniqueness and taste experiences. The participants held various events and promoted their activities.

Participants from Okinawa ran a booth featuring a blue minsah pattern, a traditional Ryukyuan textile associated with the blue color unique to Okinawa. Inside the booth, they exhibited products from Okinawa and screened a promotional video.

The participants set up a stage next to the booth on which sisters Yasue Kinjo and Tomoe Yogi gave a concert singing shimauta, or Okinawan traditional folk songs. Many visitors listened to the beautiful singing, the tune and rhythms being unfamiliar to their ears. At the end of the concert, the Okinawan participants explained how to perform kachasi, a traditional Okinawan dance. The dancing got the visitors up on their feet enjoying themselves.

Miss Okinawa Shoko Higa introduced the sea, nature and culture, and shopping information of Okinawa. She said to the visitors, “Okinawa is now in the tourist season. I really hope that you will come to see what we have to offer.”

The Okinawan participants held various events, in which the visitors wore garments made of bingata, Okinawan traditional resist dyed cloth for a commemorative photograph, and held a quiz about Okinawa which went down well with the visitors.

Several Okinawan companies also participated in the fair to promote tourism to the prefecture. Aesthetician Asami Miyagi, who works at a spa in Okinawa, said, “This is the first time for me to come to Shanghai. It was marvelous to meet customers here for whom I usually provide services for in Okinawa. I learned a great deal from this experience.”

It is important to raise the level of the Okinawan tourism industry and make Okinawa a more attractive tourist destination by actively sending people like Miyagi overseas who provide services to tourists, letting them deepen their knowledge and broaden their experiences.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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