Worldwide Youth Uchinanchu Festival closes with local festival in Sao Paulo
July 31, 2012 Akiko Yasuhara Correspondent of Ryukyu Shimpo
On July 29, at the Brazil Okinawa Cultural Center in Sao Paulo, a local festival was held bringing the 1st Worldwide Youth Uchinanchu Festival 2012 to an end. A total of 150 young people from seven different countries celebrated the festival being held for the 25th time.
During the performance of the Ryukyu Koku Matsuri Daiko Brazil branch in the early part of the festival, other members of overseas branches such as the United States and Argentina joined in to dance eisa together. A total of 300 people, the largest-ever number of performers at the branch, beat drums with vigor under the clear sky and an electric air to the people dancing kachashi. The Ryukyu Stomp, a dance group made up of members of the World Youth Uchinanchu Association Okinawa branch, expressed the history of Okinawan immigrants in their performance, moving to the mixture of Ryukyuan folk songs and techno music. The audience cheered and whistled in support.
In the main event, there was a beauty pageant held in Ryukyuan dress, with participants from the three branches of Okinawa, Bolivia and Peru appearing in traditional Ryukyuan costume wearing large floral-shaped hats. Aya Toyosato from the Okinawa branch was selected among the seven finalists.
About the festival, Saori Kanashiro of the Peru branch said, “It was one big youth movement. I was able to make lots of global connections.” Shun Maeshiro of the Okinawa branch promised other participants to meet again at the festival to be held in the United States next year and said, “There are still some problems to resolve around running the event, but I’m glad to see everyone so happy. The bonds we have established here will endure into the future. I’m sure that they will bring further momentum.”
(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)
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