The 6th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival takes place this week at various locations throughout Okinawa and it promises to be the biggest ever gathering of Uchinanchu people, relatives and friends. Many of them have travelled from countries far and wide to be in Okinawa at this time in order to celebrate their Ryukyu heritage. The festival is held once every five years.
The festival’s website states that Okinawan identity has been sustained overseas through cultural activities such as traditional performing arts, sanshin, and karate, and “with the 6th festival we would like the citizens of Okinawa to rediscover the unique culture, natural features, and history that encompass Okinawa’s so-called “soft power.” At the same time, we also wish to promote among our citizens the role that the Uchinanchu festival has played in our history of emigration and the importance of expanding and developing the Uchinanchu Network.”
Some pre-festival events have already been held including the Festival Eve Parade of participating groups in Naha’s Kokusai-dori this afternoon but the festival officially begins tomorrow (27th) at 17:00 with the Opening Ceremony at Okinawa Cellular Stadium in Naha.
This being Okinawa, music will feature heavily in the festival celebrations and as well as a number of sessions for eisa and sanshin there will be performances by established Okinawan musicians at Cellular Stadium. These performances will follow the Opening Ceremony and then the Grand Finale which comes after the Closing Ceremony at the same venue on Sunday (30th).
Appearing at the Opening Ceremony will be Rimi Natsukawa, Parsha Club, Nenez, and Mai Hanashiro who will sing the festival’s theme song. The biggest music event comes on Sunday evening as part of the Grand Finale when there will be music by Begin, Diamantes, Kariyushi 58, Ryukyudisko, Vanesa Oshiro, Mai Hanashiro and May J.
Full details of all the events are available in English at the official website for the 6th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival: