Chicago Okinawa Kenjinkai performance

A large number of exiled Okinawans live around the world and this week, from the 12th to 16th October, several thousand of them will gather in Okinawa to celebrate their heritage, music and culture at the 5th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival. Yesterday, as a kind of taster for the festival, I attended a performance of Ryukyu music and dance given jointly by members of the Chicago Okinawa Kenjinkai – who are back on the island for the festival – and the Kariyushi Kai from Okinawa itself. It’s the fifth time that these two groups have combined to give performances, the first being in Chicago back in 1999. Yesterday’s get together took place at Kimutaka Hall in Uruma.

As well as several traditional Okinawan songs there were performances of classical Ryukyu dances and the popular Eisa. In all 35 members of the two groups took part and a very enjoyable afternoon’s entertainment was rounded off with a lively katcharsee finale. These are not professional musicians or dancers but simply Uchinanchu (Okinawan) people celebrating their island backgrounds and connections. The sheer enthusiasm which went into the staging of these songs and dances was very impressive and members on stage were encouraged and supported by a large vocal presence from relatives in the audience. Here are some more photos from the event:

Chicago Okinawa Kenjinkai’s website is at:

Official poster for the 5th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival

For details of the 5th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival see the official website:

Explore posts in the same categories: Live in Okinawa, Okinawa Overseas

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