OPG exchanges opinions with travel agents on the commercialization of Okinawan performing arts

OPG exchanges opinions with travel agents on the commercialization of Okinawan performing arts

On January 5, at the National Theatre Okinawa in Urasoe, dancers performed Bon Voyage! directed by Megumi Tomita for the participants from travel agencies and media from outside of Okinawa.

January 6, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

On January 5 and 6, an Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) sponsored tour for travel agents and media from outside Okinawa was held to look into the possibility of commercializing Okinawan performing arts. This is a part of the OPG’s cultural tourism promotion project. At the National Theatre Okinawa, young directors created a stage production that mixes Ryukyuan dance, eisa and karate, thereby promoting the potential of Okinawan performing arts.

A total of 160 participants gathered on the first day, including 24 travel agents from Tokyo and the Kansai area, and 136 people from Okinawa. The stage program included Bon Voyage! directed by Megumi Tomita, Kariyushi・Kariyushi—Shisa in Love directed by Michihiko Kakazu, and Ryukyu Gensou Emaki—Glorious RYUKYU “Haru ya haru” directed by Kazuyuki Nashiro.

The survey was carried out by asking the participants to comment both on the good points and the areas requiring improvement, as well as other criteria, such as the entrance fee and length of performance. A three-level evaluation was also conducted.

Hiroyuki Nishida, the market development team advisor for the Nippon Travel Agency said, “I couldn’t understand the local dialect. It is difficult to appreciate it without some background knowledge. It needs some additional commentary. But even so, it does have potential to be part of a school trip program or an optional tour for the elderly.” Tsuyoshi Masuda, the editor of Shunkan Ryoko Shinbun, commented, “We are planning to do an article covering the entire project. Cultural tourism has got great potential, and it’s good to offer more information on Okinawan performing arts.”

The second day of the tour program included a visit to the Kukuru Kanade Theater at the Taiken Oukoku Murasaki Mura in Yomitan, a model project for cultural tourism, which is run in collaboration with the local communities, followed by attending a production at the National Theatre Okinawa directed by Tatsuya Yasuda, Tadatoshi Teruya and Shinya Kurato.

(English translation by T&CT, Kyoko Tadaoka and Mark Ealey)

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