Nerpai ritual for charm against Tsunami

<em>Nerpai</em> ritual for charm against Tsunami

Performing traditional dance of Myako Island Kuichaa in a circle, the local women prayed that their homes will be safe from tsunami in Gusukube district of Miyakojima City on April 8.


April 14, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

In Gusukube district of Miyakojima City on April 8, people carried out a traditional Ryukyuan ritual Nerpai to pray for a good harvest and set up charms against tsunami.

About 30 citizens of two villages, Sunagawa and Tomori, took part in the ritual.
Local women prayed for calm in society and set up bamboo sticks known as datifu or danchiku at earmarked spots as charms to keep tsunami away.

In the morning, the local people gathered at Wipyayama in Sunagawa, where women sang a Ryukyuan divine song called Niri and prayed in the sacred room. The women then walked in a line and set up datifu sticks at the spots, praying that their homes will be safe from tsunami

After the women left, the men remained at Wipyayama to carry out the ritual in which they sang a sacred song and performed a dance mimicking the motions of rowing a boat.

A 67-year-old Tomoyoshi Uezato who is a member of the Sunagawa Neighborhood Community Association and leader of the ritual, said, “I used to go with my parents and watch how the people carry out the ritual. I am concerned that fewer and fewer people are taking part. I would like to tell people about the importance of taking over the ritual.”

(English translation by T&CT)

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