The tradition of “Shinugu” in Ada drives away evil spirits and prays for bountiful harvests

The tradition of “Shinugu” in Ada drives away evil spirits and prays for bountiful harvests

Men exiting onto the beach after coming down the mountain – August 28, Ada Kunigami

August 28, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo Digital Edition



Kunigami – The traditional ritual “Shinugu,” which has been performed in Ada, Kunigami for over 400 years continuously, and was selected as a nationally recognized significant intangible cultural asset, was performed in Ada on August 28.

Men from both inside and outside the village wear garlands of flowers and straw, and wrap their bodies in vines and other vegetation, effectively becoming a “deity for a day.”

Only men are allowed to ascend the mountain for the ritual. At noon on the day of the festival, the men split into three groups and head up three of the village mountains: Meba, Yamanasu, and Sasa.

They repeat the chant of “Eh, Hey Hoy” and strike the ground with vegetation taken from the mountain in rhythm to a big red drum in order to collect evil and malicious spirits while parading through the town.

The women who wait back in the town strike the heads of the men with vines and reeds after they descend the mountains to drive away the collected evil spirits.

Anei Furugen 85, who beat the drum up and down the mountain, said “It’s the best.

I want to keep doing this as long as my body will allow.

” In the evening, the women form a circle and perform the dance called “Ushideku.”


(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)


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A 1-year-old child crying at the festival

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