Okinawa's traditional performing art: Eisa "Gokoku Hojo" by Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Fukui
On October 7th (Sat), 2017, the Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Fukui performed Eisa at Echizen Autumn Pottery Festival at Echizen Pottery Village in Echizen Town, Fukui Prefecture. Here is one called "Gokoku Hojo".
The "Gokoku Hojo" is a song of an Okinawan band "Parsha Club". The lyrics were written by its main vocalist and a sanshin (Okinawan musical instrument) player, Yukito Ara. The lyrics written in Okinawan language enjoy the blessings of nature, celebrate the harvest and pray for one in the coming year.
Eisa is one of Okinawa's traditional performing arts, which corresponds to bon dance in Japan's mainland. Youth groups in each district have each style. They parade while dancing during the Bon festival. Although there are various theories on the origin of the Eisa, it is said that a high priest in Buddhism introduced a dance with a prayer to Buddha around 1600, and it developed into the Eisa.
Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko is a drumming group, whose performance is based on Okinawa's traditional performing art Eisa, featuring its own choreography adopted an original style of karate, and the dynamic drumstick-work. Now they are representative of Okinawa and are very popular with young people. The group was established by young people of Okinawa City in 1982 and since then, it has beaten out "appreciation for predecessors" that has been valued in Okinawa.
This year marks the 35th year since it was established, their branches expanded to other countries. Now it has 49 branches in Japan, 27 branches in other six countries and the number of members exceeded 2,500. (as of August 2018) Their activities expand on a world scale.
The members of Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Fukui gathered in front of Kehi-jingu Shrine to perform for Tsuruga Festival (2018). (This photo is from the Facebook page of Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Fukui)