August dance festival held on Tarama wishing for a good harvest

August dance festival held on Tarama wishing for a good harvest

In the afternoon of September 23, at the holy site Ntabaru utakiugan at Nakasuji, Tarama, a kumi-odori performance was dedicated to gaining a good harvest in the coming year. This is a scene from the Kumi-odori Chushin Nakasone Toyomiya gumi, in which the ruler of Miyako Nakasone Tuyumya (left) praises the sisters Ohgama and Kuigama for their contributions.


September 24, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

From September 23 (or August 8 in the lunar calendar) to September 25, the August dance festival, which is designated an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property, was held on Tarama-jima. On the opening day, local people dedicated traditional performances of kyogen and kumi-odori to a good harvest in the coming year at the sacred site Ntabaru utakiugan at Nakasuji, Tarama. On September 24, at Pitoumata ugan, at Shiokawa, and on the next day, at the spiritual sites of Shiokawa and Nakasuji residents offered performances in a farewell ceremony.

At the Ntabaru utakiugan, people performed kumi-odori such as Chushin Nakasone Tuyumya gumi and Chukou Fujin. In Kumi-odori Chushin Nakasone Toyomiya gumi, Nakasone Toyomiya who was the ruler of Miyako-jima during the 16th century, conquered Onitora, the leader of Yonaguni-jima. This kumi-odori story is only performed in Tarama. The audience particularly enjoyed the fighting and heroic scenes and the sometimes comical movements.

Maina Sawada, a third-grade pupil of Tarama Junior High School, who made his last appearance in this event because he will graduate next year, said, “I am glad that I took part in our village’s traditional festival.” Masakatsu Tsukayama, the head of the Nakasuji community, said, “We are very grateful to participants from Ishigaki and Miyako, as well as those from Okinawa’s main Island and the main islands of Japan. I hope that many people enjoy themselves with the local residents.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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