November 27, 2018

Bone-Washing Ritual in Okinawa

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — okinawacollection @ 10:00 AM

In December 2016, the Okinawa Collection Blog delivered the news that the film titled Born Bone Boon was premiered at the 11th Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival in Jakarta, Indonesia. The same film, Born Bone Born (the Japanese original title is 「洗骨」(senkotsu) is one of the films premiered at the 38th Hawai’i International Film Festival.

The film uses a bone-washing ritual practiced in a part of Okinawa.

The film’s official site: http://senkotsu-movie.com/

Born Bone Born from HIFF on Vimeo.

The trailer: https://vimeo.com/288817513

This film was directed by Toshiyuki Teruya, who is known as his stage name, “Gori.” Gori is one of the comedians who came to UH Mānoa with the play titled Alohaitai.

Evgeny S. Baksheev wrote an article on rituals in Okinawa, including bone-washing, which is available as an Open Access resource.

Baksheev, Evgeny S. “Becoming Kami? Discourse on Postmortem Ritual Deification in the Ryukyus.” Japan Review, no. 20 (2008): 275-339.

Another author wrote, “[t]he living answer the call of the dead, helping them to resume their
material engagement with the social world. Through most of Okinawa, the practice of senkotsu (bone washing), a creative, coordinated labor organized by the women of the community, was necessary to transform the ruins of the human body into a thing pure and beautiful.”

Christopher T. Nelson. “Listening to the Bones: The Rhythms of Sacrifice in Contemporary Japan.” Boundary 2, Vol. 42, No. 3 (2015): 143-155; the quote from Nelson, “Listening to the Bones,” p. 146.