Ryukyu-Okinawa Traditional Performing Arts Tour of the South Pacific: Chimu

Photo of Ryukyu-Okinawa Traditional Performing Arts Tour of the South Pacific: Chimu

The Japan Foundation organizes a performance tour in three South Pacific countries by Chimu, an Okinawan traditional performance ensemble.

Okinawa, Japan's southernmost prefecture, is comprised of the numerous islands of the Okinawa archipelago and the Yaeyama Islands. As a similar environment surrounded by a beautiful ocean to the South Pacific, we hope to present the performances and workshop based on Okinawa's traditional performing arts to the people in those three countries and share the diversity of culture. Especially praying for recovery and reconstruction from the earthquakes’ disaster both in New Zealand and Japan, we also hope to share our will to overcome our hardship to move forward.

【In Co-organization with】
Embassy of Japan in New Zealand, Consulate-General of Japan in Auckland, Consular Office of Japan in Christchurch, Embassy of Japan in Fiji, Embassy of Japan in Tonga

Touring schedule

November 8 (Tue.) to 23 (Wed.)
8 November Tue 〈Auckland, NEW ZEALAND〉
19:00 Performance @ Auckland Town Hall Concert Chamber
9 November Wed 〈Auckland, NEW ZEALAND〉
11:00-11:45 Workshop @
Kenneth Myers Centre Dance Studio, University of Auckland
12 November Sat 〈Christchurch, NEW ZEALAND〉
19:00 Performance @ Burnside High School Aurora Centre
14 &15 November Mon 〈Wellington, NEW ZEALAND〉
19:00 Performance @ Ilott Theatre, Wellington Town Hall
16 November Wed 〈Wellington, NEW ZEALAND〉
16:00 Workshop @ Japan Information & Cultural Centre, Embassy of Japan
18 & 19November Fri 〈Suva, FIJI〉
19:00 Performance @ Suva Civic Center
21 November Mon 〈Suva, FIJI〉
9:30 Workshop@Oceania Center, University of the South Pacific (USP)
23 November Wed 〈Nuku'alofa, TONGA〉
19:30 Performance @ Queen Salote Memorial Hall

Profiles of the Performers

[Ryukyuan Dance]

GOYA Kaname (From Ikehara, Okinawa City)

GOYA Kaname Born 1975. Studied under ARAGAKI Keiko in the "Hana no Kai" of the School of Taka in 1980. Won the Excellence Award at the Okinawa Times Arts Contest in 1997. Acquired license to teach at age 24 and opened the "Fuji no Kai" GOYA Kaname school of Ryukyuan dance in 1999. Presently teaches classical Japanese dance and creative dance to wide range of students from children to adults while also performing as a central figure among younger female Ryukyuan dancers at various events and performances in Japan and other countries, including Asia, America, and France. Licensed as a master of Ryukyuan dance by ARAGAKI Keiko of the "Fuji no Kai" in 2009.

KOMINE Wakako (From Uechi, Okinawa City)

KOMINE Wakako Born 1969. Studied under MIYAGI Toyoko in the Dance section of the School of Miyagi. Has 37-year history as performer. Obtained teacher's license in 2002, master's license in 2009. Member of Ryukyuan Opera Preservation Society and Okinawa Song and Dance Theater Chura. She began studying Ryukyuan dance as a young child and has performed Ryukyuan opera, Okinawa drama, contemporary drama, and newly created kumi odori (ensemble dance) at numerous Ryukyuan dance concerts, performing arts festivals, and other such events in Okinawa and elsewhere, including overseas locations in North and South America, Russia, Europe, Asia, and Australia. One of the major figures now active, she takes part in annual performances at the National Theatre Okinawa, as well as at the National Theatre of Japan in Tokyo and at the National Noh Theatre.

MATSUDA Kaori (From Misato, Okinawa City)

MATSUDA KaoriBorn 1979. Studied under ARAGAKI Keiko in 1989, and acquired license to teach "Fuji no Kai" Ryukyuan dance in 2009. Won the grand prize in the dance category at the 2010 Okinawa Times Traditional Performing Arts Contest. As one of the most capable young artists, she took part in special productions at the National Theatre Okinawa and overseas performances from an early age. She has been active in Ryukyuan dance at the National Theatre Okinawa and other locations and at occasions inside and outside Okinawa, including the Concert Commemorating the Inauguration of "Fuji no Kai" of the School of Taka in 2001, the Concert Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Japan-Iceland Diplomatic Relations in 2006, and the Teatralia Children's Theater Festival in Madrid, Spain, in 2009.

NISHIMURA Ayano (From Sashiki, Nanjo City)

NISHIMURA AyanoBorn 1981. Studied under NISHIMURA Rieko of the "Kiri no Kai" of the Tamagusuku-ryu School, and first performed on stage at the age of three. Won the Grand Prix in the dance category at the Ryukyu Shimpo Classical Arts Contest and the Excellence Award in the drum category at the Okinawa Times Arts Contest. After completing the Graduate Program in Ryukuan Theatrical Performance at the Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts, she was granted a license to teach traditional Japanese dance in 2008. She has been active on stage in Okinawa and elsewhere, including appearances in dance performances at events connected with the G8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit in 2000, inaugural performances of the National Theatre Okinawa in 2004, and international exchange performances overseas, as well as joint performances with other art genres and work on choreography for other artists.

[Okinawan folk song, sanshin (Okinawan traditional three-stringed instrument), flute, shimadaiko (Okinawan drum), others]

NISHIMURA Ayano (From Sashiki, Nanjo City)

CHINA SadahitoBorn 1974, the son of CHINA Sadao, preeminent figure in the world of Ryukyuan folk song, and the grandson of CHINA Teihan, a great contributor to Ryukyuan folk song. At age 22, he became sanshin player in the China Sadao Ensemble, backing band for the Nenes and Ryukyuan festivals, and played on CDs by many artists, including the Nenes, CHINA Sadao, The Fere, YOSHIDA Yasuko, HATOMA Kanako, NAKATA Masae, and Toururunten. In 2009, he came out with his first solo, "Shimauta-hangaku," and embarked on a full-fledged solo career.

SHIMABUKURO Tatsuya (From Awase, Okinawa City)

SHIMABUKURO TatsuyaBorn 1981. Began playing the sanshin at age 15, and studying under NAKA Tsuneyasu at age 17. Joined Tsuneyasu Naka and the Tokonatsu Band and appeared together at numerous events and in local commercials. Embarked on solo career in 2005. Active in live performance, guest appearances on CDs and at events in Okinawa and elsewhere. He also sings Okinawan folk songs with the local Awase Third Youth Group and actively participates in area festivals. His composition "Awase" was naturally included in the repertoires of local youth groups as well as of the Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko traditional drum group, which has branches throughout Japan. He made his long-awaited solo recording debut on his first CD, "Tounugi" (Campus Records), in 2008. A song on the CD titled "Awase Baystreet" won the 2008 New Folk Music Award organized by Radio Okinawa.
The untamed sound of his singing voice combined with his virtuoso sanshin technique charm this young but orthodox shimauta-folk singer's listeners.

YOKOME Hiroya (From Shiraho, Ishigaki island)

YOKOME HiroyaBorn 1985 in Shiraho, an area of Ishigaki Island noted for its singing. Influenced from early childhood by local ceremonies and other occasions, he took up the sanshin at age 9 under his father and mother, who are masters as well as teachers of the Yaeyama Classical Folk Song Preservation Society. In his three years at Yaeyama High School, he was a dedicated member of the local performing arts club, which won the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister's Award in the All-Japan High School Cultural Festival. Graduated Department of Performance Arts, Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts, with a major in Classical Ryukyuan Music. He is a teacher of sanshin and flute in the Genseikai of the Afuso-ryu School of classical Okinawan music. Won the Excellence Award at the Yaeyama Classical Folk Song Contest organized by the Yaeyama-Mainichi Daily News. Aiming to become a traditional singer of folk songs that speak to people's hearts through both folk song and classical music, he is engaged in an active musical career based in Okinawa Prefecture with his older brother Hiromichi as the Yokome Brothers.

TOYOZATO Miho (From Hirae, Ishigaki island)

TOYOZATO Miho Born 1987. Studied from age 11 with YOKOME Hiroji, a master of Yaeyama classical folk song, then from age 18 with HANASHIRO Hideki of the Genseikai of the Afuso-ryu School of classical Okinawan music. Won the Excellence Award in the flute category at the 2011 Ryukyu Classical Arts contest organized by the Ryukyu Shimpo News and the Grand Prize at the 37th Yaeyama Classical Folk Song Contest organized by the Yaeyama-Mainichi Daily News. Graduated from the Classical Performing Arts program at the Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts. One of the major figures among younger women artists of Okinawan narrative folk song, while still at university she was responsible for Okinawan narrative folk songs in special productions at the National Theatre Okinawa as well as at drama festivals in other parts of Japan, in Europe, in Australia, and other overseas locations.

[Planning, Organization, Direction, Production]

OSHIRO Hayato [STYLISH H2O] (From Goya, Okinawa City)

OSHIRO Hayato Born 1982. After graduating high school, was active as a member of the Rinken Band. On leaving the band, he appeared in various shows and special events in Okinawa while also working on planning, directing, and other aspects of the performing arts. In 2004, he organized the 50th anniversary celebration for Okinawa Central College School. In 2008, he planned and directed Shimagukuru, a gathering of young artists that brought together all the promising new performers who were carrying on the tradition of Okinawan performing arts. He then organized the gatherings of young artists called Jyotanka, in 2009, and Otoashibi, in 2010, both of which were very well received. He organized Ryukyu Rashinban, a concert by Okinawan rock, pop, classical performing arts, and folk song artists on Okinawa Memorial Day (June 23) of 2011, and is planning another gathering of young artists to take place in December.

Tour staffs

  • Yukimi Shinzato (Production, Stage manager)
  • Kaori Yamaguchi (Sound)
  • Satoru Kinjo (Lighting)

Page Top