May 11, 2018

Traditional Burial in Okinawa Captured in DVD

Filed under: resources — Tags: — okinawacollection @ 7:00 AM

A company called Kaiensha (海燕社) released a 2-disc DVD set titled Sosen to no utage gangōsai: Yaese-chō Tōme, Kogusuku (=『祖先との宴 龕甲祭: 八重瀬町当銘・小城』).  The DVD is a documentary that depicts a historical burial known in Yaese town in Okinawa. The burial style is known since 1833, and the year 2017 marked the 6th 25 years anniversary.

DVD cover

One of the items in the Sakamaki/Hawley Collection titled Ryukyu fūzoku no zu (琉球風俗之図) was used for the DVD case jacket and in the documentary.

image from DVD

The same image can be seen at the University of the Ryukyus Library’s digital archives’ page.

According to Okinawa minzoku jiten (= roughly translated as the Dictionary of Okinawan Customs, 『沖縄民俗辞典』), 龕 (pronounced as “gan”) is a red portable shrine to carry a coffin to a burial site.

Watanabe, Yoshio. Okinawa Minzoku Jiten. Tōkyō: Yoshikawa Kōbunkan, 2008. p. 153-154.

Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum has a column that explains Okinawan burial systems.

Okinawa no sōbosei: Heisei 27-nendo no tokubetsuten ni mukete (in Japanese)

The newspaper, Ryukyu Shimpo, has an article about the 2017 gangōsai in Yaese Town.

“Gangōsai junbi ni netsu: 12-nen buri, 29-nichi muke jūmin kyōryoku, Yaese-cho Tōme, Kogusuku,” Ryukyu Shimpo, September 26, 2017. (「龕甲祭 準備に熱 12年ぶり、29日向け住民協力 八重瀬町当銘・小城」、琉球新報、2017年9月26日。)

The DVD set was a gift to the Library. It will be cataloged and become available to checkout from Sinclair Library. Stay tuned!