February 22, 2019

Kumiodori 300th Anniversary

Filed under: news — Tags: — okinawacollection @ 10:00 AM

To celebrate the 300th anniversary of kumiudui (or kumuodori in standard Japanese) in Okinawa, a special Ryukyuan dance will be performed at Kyoto Art Theater Shunūza studio 21 on February 23, 2019.

300th anniversary of kumiudui

Kumiodori 300th Anniversary
Ryukyuan Dance and Kumiodori at Shunjuza

  • 23 February 2019, Saturday
  • Kyoto Art Theater Shunjuza
  • From 2 PM; Theater opens 1:30PM
  • With [Buyō] Miyagi Noho, [Uta/Sanshin] Nishie Kishun, [Taiko] Higa Satoshi and others

Presented by Kyoto Performing Arts Center at Kyoto University of Art and Design, and National Theater Okinawa
Supported by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan, and Okinawa Prefecture



  • 第一部 琉球舞踊
  • 第二部 組踊「孝行の巻」

Video clip from Kyoto Art Theater, published on Apr 25, 2016.

About kumiudui/kumiodori/組踊

“Kumiodori was created by the Dance Magistrate Tamagusuku Chokun (1684-1734) and was first performed in order for Sho Kei, the thirteenth king of the second Sho dynasty, to entertain the sappōshi[冊封使] in 1719.

Chokun wrote Shushin-kaneiri, Nido-tekiuchi, Mekarushi, Onna-monogurui and koko−no-maki, which are called the five works of Chokun.
The impression formed on the sapposhi who were watching kumiodori for the first time was deep, and, following that occasion, kumiodori became the centre around which dance programmes were organized as coronation performing arts. Such programmes were the ones to be staged on the occasion of a new king receiving investiture, so their contents had to be worthy of the occasion. Kumiodori, the main element of the programme, was something of which Ryukyu was proud, and thus it came to be designated the national drama.”

Source: http://kumiodori.jp/E-kumiodori/index.html, last accessed on February 21, 2019.

UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage site explains kumiodori as follows:

“Kumiodori is a Japanese performing art found on the Okinawa islands. It is based upon traditional Okinawan music and dance, but also incorporates elements from mainland Japan, such as Nogaku or Kabuki, as well as from China. Kumiodori dramas recount local historical events or legends, accompanied by a traditional three-stringed instrument. The phrases have a particular rhythm, based upon traditional poetry and the distinctive intonation of the Ryukyu scale, and are performed in the ancient language of Okinawa. The physical movements of the performers evoke those of a pythoness at traditional rituals of ancient Okinawa. All parts are performed by male actors, and techniques unique to Okinawa can be seen in the methods of hair-dressing, costumes and decorations used on stage. The need to strengthen transmission motivated Kumiodori performers to establish the Traditional Kumiodori Preservation Society, which trains performers, revives discontinued dramas, and carries out performances on a regular basis. In addition to classical works that emphasize themes of loyalty and filial duty, new dramas have been produced with modern themes and choreography, but retaining the traditional Kumiodori style. Kumiodori plays a central role in preserving ancient Okinawan vocabulary as well as transmitting literature, performing arts, history and ethics.”

Source: “Kumiodori, traditional Okinawan musical theatre: Inscribed in 2010 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity,” at https://ich.unesco.org/en/RL/kumiodori-traditional-okinawan-musical-theatre-00405, accessed on Feb 21, 2019.


October 15, 2018

Sacred Sounds of Ryukyu at Orvis Auditorium

Filed under: events — Tags: , — okinawacollection @ 11:30 AM

The Center for Okinawan Studies at UH Mānoa and the East-West Center Arts Program present “Sacred Sounds of Ryukyu” on Sunday, November 11, 2018, at Orvis Auditorium at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa campus.

Sacred Sound of Ryukyu

“A tradition of sacred singing has been passed on in the Ryukyu Islands for over 400 years. In this event we will listen to songs and explanations of creation myths from the court omoro tradition and secret songs from the regional umui genre. We will also hear performances of Christian hymns based on Ryukyuan folk songs and sung in the Ryukyuan language since the 19th century.”

Date, Time, & Location:


  • $10 general
  • $8 seniors 65+, EWC/UH faculty & staff, military & veterans
  • $5 college students with ID, children 18 & under

Tickets online: https://ewcarts.eventbrite.com

Co-sponsored by the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa Center for Okinawan Studies, UHM Department of Music, East-West Center Arts Program, and Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts.
The EWC Arts Program is supported in part by Aqua-Aston Hospitality, The Hawai’i Pacific Rim Society Hideo Murakami Fund for the Arts, Friends of Hawai’i Charities, Barbara B. Smith. Richard H. Cox, Jean E. Relles, EWC Arts ‘Ohana members, Jackie Chan Foundation USA, The Arthur Goodfriend lntercultural Fund, and other generous donors.

Seating is general: first come, first served.

Doors open 30 minutes before show time. Any remaining tickets will be available at the door, one hour before show time. Please allow time for parking, which is managed by UH Mānoa and usually free on Sundays.

September 1, 2018

Autumn Moon Celebration at HoMA

Filed under: community,events — Tags: , — okinawacollection @ 8:00 AM

Ukwanshin Kabudan announced that their annual Jugūya celebration will be held on September 24 at the Doris Duke Theater at the Honolulu Museum of Art. We are thrilled that two well-regarded guest artists from Okinawa will be performing at this concert; Kazue Higa and Atsuko Tamagusuku.

As a convenience to concert-goers, a special “Jugūya Bus” has been chartered for a round-trip ride from Jikoen Hongwanji to the concert site and return. If you plan to catch the bus, you may leave your car in the Jikoen parking lot. There will be no charge (it’s free!) for the bus ride. Traditional moon cakes may also be ordered with your ticket and bus reservations. Seats are limited so send in your reservations as soon possible.

If you have any questions, contact Ukwanshin Kabudan at ukwanshinevents [at] gmail [dot] com. Please replace [at] with @ and [dot] with a period (.).

Okinawan music and dance event on September 24, 2018 at HoMA

Bus schedule for Juguya event at Honolulu Museum of Art

June 7, 2017

Kumiwudui (Kumiodori / Okinawan Dance)

Filed under: events,resources — Tags: — okinawacollection @ 7:00 PM

Kumiwudui (Kumu Odor / Okinawan Dance) – June 8, 2017

The Center for Okinawan Studies presents KUMIWUDUI : A lecture-demonstration.

Kumiwudui is the Classical Dance Drama of the Ryukyu Kingdom.
This year makrs the 41st anniversary of a visit by Kin Ryosho, and his teaching of Okinawan Dance and the Kumiwudui at the University of Hawaiʻi.
The lecture-demonstration is one of multiple celebrations of Kin Ryosho’s transmission of this Ryukyuan court legacy.

Picture of the poster Kumiwudui

Featured Presentors:
Hanashiro Seikichi (James)
Nakandakari Tetsuya
Yamada Kazuko

Date and Time: Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 7:30pm
Location: University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Music Building, Orvis Auditorum

Admission: Free

What is Kumiwudui (or Kumiodori in standard Japanese)?

According to Digital Daijisen (dictionary), Kumiwudui (Kumiodori) is:


[Source: Digital Daijisen through a database titled Japan Knowledge, accessed on June 8, 2017 (HST)]

Wikipedia defines Kumiwudui as follows:

Kumi odori (組踊?, Okinawan: Kumi wudui) is a form of narrative traditional Ryūkyūan dance. Kumi odori or Kumi wudui means “combination dance” or “ensemble dance”.

Originating in the Ryūkyūan capital of Shuri, Okinawa in 1719, the original purpose of this dance was to provide amusement and diversions, which were termed ukwanshin, for the Chinese diplomats who traveled to Ryūkyū.”

[Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumi_Odori]

The Japan Arts Council (日本芸術文化振興会) has a website that is dedicated to Kumiudui (or Kumiodori or 組踊).


The University of Hawai’i Library has some resources on Kumiwudui/Kumiodori.

  • Kumiodori no sekai : miru, kiku, yomu = 組踊の世界 [videorecording] : 観る,聴く,読む / chosaku, seisaku Okinawa-ken ; seisaku kigyō Konsōshiamu Kumiodori Kontentsu Purojekuto = 著作·制作沖縄県制作企業コンソーシアム組踊コンテンツプロジェクト.
  • The Okinawan kumiodori : an analysis of relationships of text, music and movement in selections from Nidō Tekiuchi / by Kimiko Ohtani.
  • Ushuu Guhuukuu / Alfred Yama Kina. (A Ph.D. dissertation, 2006; accessible only for the UH Manoa affiliated).

KUMIWUDUI : A lecture-demonstration

December 13, 2016

Ishigaki Junior High School Students’ Performance

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

Dance and Music performed by the students on the Isigaki Island / 石垣中学校による郷土芸能

On November 14, 2016,  Ishigaki Junior High School in Ishigaki City in Okinawa Prefecture performed traditional dance and music at their gym.

The traditional songs played at the event are:

  • Katamibushi / かたみ節
  • Hatomabushi / 鳩間節
  • Asadoyabushi / 安里屋節

Sinclair Library at the University of Mānoa has many audio/visual resources related to Okinawan/Ryukyuan music and dance. Some tips to find and check out media resources are here: