Okinawans host Eisa dancing event in Indonesia in support of Shuri Castle

Okinawans host Eisa dancing event in Indonesia in support of Shuri Castle

Indonesian students from a Japanese school performing the “Mamidoma.” November 29, Jakarta

December 1, 2019 Ryukyu Shimpo
By Keiichiro Ono

In support of the reconstruction of Shuri Castle, which recently burned down, over 100 people gathered for a charity event in front of a Japanese restaurant in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta November 29.

Both Japanese people with a connection to Okinawa as well as Indonesians played the sanshin and danced Eisa.

Customers wished for the rapid restoration of the symbol of Okinawa, and donated to a “support fund.”

The host of the even was Ogimi native Akiko Miyagi, 49, an account manager for local business such as Japanese restaurants.

When the news of the fire arrived along with the grief, sympathetic text messages and kind words from patrons started coming in from people who wanted to send their support for the recovery from abroad, and the day after the fire a donation box was placed at the front of the restaurant.

Soon after, members of a sanshin group led by Okinawan natives started discussing a charity even, and the tempo picked up from there.

The Indonesian eisa group “Umaku Eisa Shinka,” and a group primarily comprised of Japanese-Indonesians with an average age of 70 called “Taho Okinawa Eisa” also participated, and the groups performed together.

At the start of the concert, Minami Onuma, 36, from Nishihara gave opening remarks with tears in her eyes, saying, “Every time I think of [the fire] tears come.

Shuri was not only a tourist destination, but was also a center for the arts. Please enjoy the music of the sanshin.”

Over the next hour, the group performed nine pieces including “Asatoya Yunta” and “Ashibina.”

During “Mamidoma,” a dance from Taketomi Island, Indonesians who are studying Japanese also joined in, and after a crash course in the steps were performing the dance to loud applause.

Lastly, performers and audience members joined together in dancing the Kachashi to close the show.

Miyagi said she was filled with emotion that, “the two countries could come together like this.”

The funds collected in the donation box at the front of the store will be donated to Shuri Castle Park via the city of Naha.

(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)

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