Taiwanese and Okinawan elementary school pupils carry out friendly exchange through traditional arts

Taiwanese and Okinawan elementary school pupils carry out friendly exchange through traditional arts

On November 2, at Shonan Elementary School in Haebaru, children from Taiwan and Okinawa enjoy dancing Haebaru Ondo.

November 4, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

“Inabayo (Hello),” “Haisai,”

On November 2, about 40 members of the samba team of Taiping Elementary School, including pupils, teachers and representatives of the Puyuma people, from Taitung County, Taiwan, visited Shonan Elementary School, in Haebaru showcasing their traditional arts in a friendly exchange.

The children in the Taiwanese samba team were guests in the Shonan Elementary School event held as part of the traditional culture week to which parents and local people are invited. Fifth and sixth-grade pupils of Shonan Elementary School performed Ryukyu dance and sanshin, karate and eisa. Pupils of Taiping Elementary School, dressed in their brightly colored ethnic costume, performed a powerful display of samba percussion and acted out a monkey festival, an example of the traditional arts of the Puyuma people in which young men test their courage. The Taiwanese children enjoyed dancing the Haebaru Ondo in the finale.

Elementary schools for the indigenous people of Taiwan have established a unique style of percussion played while dressed in the national costume of each tribe, and have incorporated the samba into its lessons in an attempt to help pass on traditional performing arts. Midori Onaga, who is from Naha, played a key in inviting the Taiwanese children to Okinawa.

Shonan Elementary School sixth-grade pupil Rin Akamine, who performed eisa, said, “Their colorful costumes and leggings are similar to those used in our traditional performing arts in Okinawa.” Chou Yu Fan, a sixth-grade pupil of Taiping Elementary School going overseas for the first time, said, “I am very happy to be so warmly welcomed.” Wu Xiu Jin, the president of the elementary school and Lin Qing Mei, an elder of the Puyuma people said that they were very impressed by Okinawan traditional performing arts.

On November 4, the samba team paraded down Heiwa-Dori in Naha and performed at Sakurazaka Theater.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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