Uchinanchu Festival Closing Ceremony

The 5th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival came to an end last night after four days of events and celebrations with a closing ceremony attended by 31,000 at Okinawa Cellular Stadium in Naha. After some closing speeches, there was the performance of a spectacular musical drama set in the days of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Those taking part in the drama included around 1,000 schoolchildren.

A section of the crowd at the closing ceremony

The festivities then continued with a concert featuring The Boom’s Kazufumi Miyazawa, Yoriko Ganeko, Shoukichi Kina and his band Champloose, Alberto Shiroma’s Diamantes, and the trio Begin. Each musician played just two or three songs and the inevitable favourites and crowd pleasers were on display. This meant Miyazawa had everyone singing along with his ‘Shimauta’. Diamantes, who are celebrating 20 years together, played Shiroma’s most popular song ‘Katate ni sanshin o’.  And yes, Kina went into ‘Hana’ and the lively ‘Haisai Ojisan’ for possibly the millionth time. But this was first and foremost a time for Uchinanchu to gather and to celebrate their Ryukyu Island heritage and the festival has been a great success in bringing people together to achieve that aim.

Thanks again to Tom Corrao and his wife Nozomi of the Chicago Okinawa Kenjinkai for their invitation to these events. Last night I was also able to join some of the UK contingent who have been participating in the festival and was especially pleased to finally meet up with Meria Miller who is Chairperson of Okinawans in the UK and a member of the London-Okinawa Sanshin-Kai.

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

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