20 sanshin players perform, protesting against new US military base construction

20 <em>sanshin</em> players perform, protesting against new US military base construction

On Sanshin Day, sanshin and Koto performers performed songs. In front of the gate of U.S. Marine Camp Schwab on March 4.


March 5, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

Citizens are protesting against offshore construction work for the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to the Henoko district of Nago. On Sanshin Day, March 4, 20 sanshin and Koto performers, including Eiji Shimabukuro, 72, who is a holder of Kumiodori, a title given to a person designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Property by the government, gathered in front of the gate of U.S. Marine Camp Schwab. They performed songs for protest. Over 100 citizens protesting against the construction, danced the kachashi dance to music. The participants sent a message of peace through Okinawan traditional culture.

Dancing in Kagiyadefu, 67-year-old Naha resident Hiromi Minamoto referred to the history of Okinawan people protesting against authorities through songs and dances. Minamoto said, “I think that we were able to display how Okinawan traditional culture should be.”

Sixty-seven-year-old Tadahiko Shimada, one of the sanshin performers sang a different version of song Toshin Doi (The China trade ship is coming), voicing, “No new base in Henoko.” The performers have played the song several times. Shimada said smilingly, “I felt very strongly that we will never let the base be built after I joined fellow performers in playing this song.”

(English translation by T&CT)

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