Revival of Ishigaki Village’s Traditional Dance, Izunushi

Ishigaki island of Okinawa is one of the well-loved domestic travel destination in Japan, and very famous for its beautiful beach with fish and coral reef, but that’s is not all the charms of the area; Okinawa is also known for its unique regional music and dance.  It seems there is an Ishigakijima dance revived a few years ago for this first time in over 115 years!


"Kumawo" some rights reserved. flickr


This traditional dance, kumi odori is ensemble dance consists of music, narrative and dance, and originally played at main land of Okinawa to entertain visitors from China.  It is known that the last dance was performed on 1895 during a praying ceremony at Miyatori-on; however, there is no record of this particular kumi odori dance performed after this, so it is assumed that the dance hadn’t been performed for 116 years until it was revived on 2011.

All narratives of the kumi odori uses Okinawa dialect, but it seems subtitle can be available on the screen depending on the session, so people from outside the area can also enjoy the play.  Local people including those who played the kumi odori, Izunushi, is so determined to hand down this play to next generation not just as a treasure of Ishigaki, but also for entire Yaeyama island.

I do like Okinawan music and dance myself, so I am so pleased that local people managed to revive the particular dance after more than a century.  I sincerely hope that this dance will be securely hand down.  And I also hope some of you will be able to enjoy in the future while your stay in Japan!


What do you think about today’s article? I’m looking forward to hearing from you 🙂


Source: Ishigaki Keizai Shimbun


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