Ryukyu/ Okinawan Dance and Theater in Hawai`i Reaches Milestone: LooChoo nu Kwa Receives Standing Ovation. Audience Came to Experience and Reminisce. History Made for Classical Okinawan/ Ryukyu Dance.

lcnk_01.JPG lcnk_02.JPG lnk1.JPG lcnk_48.JPG lcnk_50.JPG lcnk_41.JPG lcnk_17.JPG lcnk_57.JPG lnk21.jpg lnk3.jpg lnk4.jpg lcnk_64.JPG lcnk_73.JPG lcnk_80.JPG lcnk_79.JPG lcnk_71.JPG Laughter, tears and a flood of memories filled the Mamiya Theater for the LooChoo nu Kwa show. The cast was greeted with a standing ovation as the final curtain call began, and hearts became one with the message of remembering our ancestors and passing on what they have left us. On behalf of the cast and crew of LooChoo nu Kwa, we would like to extend our warmest ippei nifwe debiru to all our supporters and sponsors, as well as the audience, who helped to make this show an overwhelming success, and first of its kind in Hawai`i Okinawan performng arts history. We will have video available for this show. Please contact us via email. Also, we would love to hear your comments. We’ll also be posting pictures as they become available.Check out this link to view a clip of our show. Mahalo Bobby Estrella from Tri-star video.

12 thoughts on “Ryukyu/ Okinawan Dance and Theater in Hawai`i Reaches Milestone: LooChoo nu Kwa Receives Standing Ovation. Audience Came to Experience and Reminisce. History Made for Classical Okinawan/ Ryukyu Dance.

  1. Dorene Niibu

    Hi Norman & Eric

    Please express my deepest congratulations to all participants and volunteers for an outstanding performance at the Mamiya Theatre yesterday. I am so glad that I was able to attend again. I am amazed at how you made a good show even BETTER!

    Thank you for perpetuating our Okinawan culture and I believe that you heard the voice of Keith’s grandpa and I’m sure that all of our ancestors were watching from above with smiles & tears of joy on their faces! Keep up the great work!


  2. Keith Shimabukuro

    Hello Eric Sensei:
    I had to send you an update on our performance. As soon as I reached home I had 4 callbacks from a co-worker, Aunty Sueko, Glen Koki, Charlie Ikehara. My Co-worker was astounded with the show and what was presented. She said that she was quite impressed with your Onna odori and those intricate slow foot movements and upon hearing that you had leg surgery. By the way she’s Filipino and what she liked was the storyline and the explanation of dances, the slideshow and the women balancing baskets on their heads she said that the Filipinos do that too. I told her it must be a southeast Asian thing and Okinawa falls in that category. She was also praying for me knowing that I had a sore leg at work and performing. All in all she was impressed with all of us bowing to the audience from the stage then greeting them with Arigato Gozaimasu in the front. Several people mentioned that to me. It also gave me a warm feeling meeting everyone and shaking their hands. My co worker said that she would like to attend another of our performances.

    Charlie came to the performance and bought tickets for his relatives and several friends. They told him that they did not expect something like this. They further told him that they were very happy to have come and that it touched on many things that they have heard from other relatives about Okinawa. The sound effects, the meaning of the dances and that play even if the dances were slow but what was explained and shown in the screen made them interested. Keith N. & Norman & You that capped off the finale they said was awesome and thought that Ukwanshin was a versatile group.

    Glen Koki my friend said that it brought tears to his eyes because both of his parents loved Okinawan culture, it’s music and his Father made several of his daughters take up the dance when they were younger. When viewing the slideshow Glenn told me he could see that Okinawan people were hard workers and struggled like his parents who had ten kids and it reminded him of memories of Kam IV road. He was thanking me for selling a ticket and asked me if we were having a tour to Okinawa. His two older sisters came along with him and told me they enjoyed it very much.

    My Aunty Sueko liked the show but she did notice that my dance was not was up to what she saw me do. I told her that I had a sprained leg muscle for sometime and that I have been taking medication and using tiger balm to relieve the pain. I told her I had a commitment and wanted to fulfill it but also at the same time I was worried about the quality. She noticed that she saw her mother’s picture on the slideshow. She especially commended your dance and was impressed with it after hearing about your leg surgery.

    Thank you Eric for having some of my Grandmother’s pictures appear on the slide show. Especially the one of her in Ewa plantation when she was 17 yrs old and the color poloroid one with the lei and the one with your relatives with my Grandmother & Grandfather at Natsunoya with my Aunt Sueko & Marion Ararkaki, Big Aunty, her husband, Koki Sisters & Yogi Man Sensei during that time.

  3. Jane Serikaku

    As with so many people in the audience yesterday, I was in awe with your very professional and impressive presentation…..such an outstanding performance. What a unique and fantastic way to share your message to your audience. With the three of you sharing your values and beliefs, it truly enhanced what Devin and his grandma was enacting.
    Thank you so very much for allowing all of us to share in this heartwarming experience.

    Jane F. Serikaku
    Executive Director
    Hawaii United Okinawa Association

  4. Jon Itomura

    Hi Eric!
    Great show, my mom and her friend loved it! They thought you were an awesome dancer and the robes were beautiful. All I could say was “uh, I brought that fan back from Okinawa.”

    I loved your show. I really enjoyed the 3 of you up there singing those songs and talking in the end. I “admire” your talents (wish I could do the “Matrix” thing and plug in for nihongo and sanshin abilities).
    Everything happens with a purpose and for a reason (redundant huh) but the three of you up there delivering your song was so much better than recent ones I’ve seen attempting the same from Okinawa spreading a message of Peace versus cultural preservation.

    Keep up the great work! Keep your heart open to other perspectives as well so that the big arrow can all point to the ultimate goal of cherishing the memories of our forefathers, friends and senseis as well as productively promoting and preserving the culture of old in the “now.”

  5. Alberta Shimabukuro-Juan

    Hi uncle keith,
    Awesome! Fantastic! Entertaining! Inspiring! I started to tear in the very beginning because I could relate to “kaleo” not having his grandma there when he graduated. The costumes was beautiful, the music was great. In my opinion, when uncle eric & group were singing the hawaiian song, I thought they sound better then the cazimeros and makaha sons:)
    And the song you danced to is like my favorite, it was fun to watch. All the obasans and ojisans were really getting in to it.(I think michelle and I were one of the youngest in the crowd) I was hoping you would be in more than 1 dance. all in all, the performance was awesome and I really love the direction you folks are taking. Its so true that we have to get back to our roots and “reclaim our identity” through this our relatives live on.
    I think one of these days, I just have to tie down my “jiji” and force him to tell me what it was like growing up. Haha, that’ll be a site to see:)

    Alberta K. Shimabukuro-Juan

  6. Cindie Neilson

    hi eric,

    it’s cindie. you know, your favorite cousin. anyway, this is my email, i would love to keep in touch about all of your performances!
    i am so happy that all you’ve been working for for all of these years is finally getting the recognition and applause it deserves. you have truly opened my eyes, through your work (that is forwarded to me:)), to the connection that was always present with Grandma. I know that we were so far away while growing up, but my visits and the way that Grandma SHOWED us how important it is to treat other people, the way that family is always paramount to anything else, and where we ‘come’ from translated, all of these thousands of miles. it took me a long time to realize that what we were exposed to is unique and not the way that many people understand why we are here on this earth.

    so, thank you for working to preserve and making tangible an integral part of who i know we have all tried to embody, albeit in very different ways.

    i realized a few years ago that all we have to leave of ourselves is a legacy. i know it was never Grandma’s direct intention, but I am certain that whatever ways our lives twist and turn, we are lucky to have the honor of continuing hers.

    sorry for the long email. i know at times it seems that i always like to have fun and say the jokes, but a big part of who i am is shaped by what i think about our heritage and the struggles that happened to get us to who and where we are now.

    again, a thousand miles worth of gratitude. keep me updated on your work. say hi to everyone for me!

  7. Rachel (Ajimine) Goo

    Hi Eric I want to thank you for leaving a ticket at the box office for me on
    Sunday. The program was awesome!! It’s only been a couple of years since I
    started taking koten samisen lessons but I have developed a deep appreciation
    for the music. Those court dances can not be easy to perform as is looks like
    it takes a lot of control to perform them well. Anyway, thank you again. Hope
    to meet you someday. Rachel (Ajimine) Goo

  8. Linda Yara

    I enjoyed the show as did Charlie (who came to bring Uncle Edwin) as well as my cousins and their friends. Your dental hygienist sat with my cousin Alma because she takes care of Alma’s teeth also – oh, so small world, yeah? I mean, Aunty Hide’s neighbor is Charlie’s classmate from Mid-Pac.

    Anyway, it was just wonderful to see the scope and depth of Eric’s work as an artist and educator and how his sensitivities are “right on” because he works from the heart and is grounded in the kupuna and cultures he inhabits. A great example of how to live from the heart and stay true to what’s really important as human beings in a technological world that attempts to homogenize us. I’m glad that he courageously took on this project and presented a magnificent show. I noticed in the audience were members of the Art Academy as well as people from UH ethnomusicology as well as people from the Okinawan associations, not to mention the older generation who came because it meant something to them and found their lives validated. I’d say it was the cultural event of the year!!!!

    For me, it made a lot of sense and helped me to understand Charlie’s family whose parents were steeped in the culture yet struggled with identity issues brought about by Americanization. As Eric said, a lot has been lost but as he also said, not really because they’ll always be here with us. Music is the bridge and the filler that allows us to deal with suffering giving us the means whereby to live another day and maybe do better.

    Here’s something that came to mind after I began taking sanshin lessons:

    To hold the sanshin was to come home

    To play the sanshin rekindled the spirit

    I never really knew or understood the power of the instrument that could be so connected with one’s soul and be the instrument of expression for one’s feelings which are beyond the spoken word.

    Breathe deep and stay grounded. You experienced something powerful and special. Thanks for sharing it with me that I could share it with others. My cousin Gayle summed it up when she said that she found herself “at peace” as a result of the euphoria of the show.

    Nihei deebiru — linda

  9. Ann Kaneshiro

    I was astounded by what was presented. From the greting at the front doors, to the end, I was kept in anticipation of what was to come next. Each part built upon emotion, as the stories mounted and merged with the slides. I found myself suddenly brought back to that time when the first generation was sround. Like Kaleo said, “the sight and sounds came back to me”. I was able to connect so well to Kaleo. It was myself on stage asking what I had held up in me all these years. I didn’t want to leave the theater. I found refuge, and felt that you helped to bring my baban back again. I felt that if I left the theater, I would again lose her. I think many others may have felt that way, thats why everyone stayed. Ukwanshin brought us the best gift we could ever experience. Thank you again. I wish the whole Okinawan community could have experienced what you all had to share. Keep up the good work.

  10. Tom Shimabukuro

    Hi Jamie,

    Congratulations! You people did a great job! The show was great. You accomplished in one afternoon what it would have taken years to do. The intended mesage was clearly received by the audience, not only by Okinawans, but by all of the ethnic groups present. I wish you had scheduled another show. But, that’s ok. It is better to have quality if not quantity. I enjoyed it immensely. YOU ALL DID A FANTASTIC JOB! Please convey my congratulations to Eric, Norman, and Keith. They were superb and brought the “house down”. And you too, with your sensual voice. You all made me so happy and proud…all of you. I amconfident that the future is in good hands.

    Nifee deebiru!

  11. Kyler Kwock Photography

    Eric, Norman, Keith, Jamie and the rest of the cast. Congratulations again on a stellar performance. It was a pleasure and an honor to work with you again and help photograph the event for you. I can’t say enough about how truly amazing you guys are. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of such a wonderful event.


  12. Priscilla Otsuji

    Hi Eric,
    > We enjoyed so much your performance on Sunday. You are so
    > multi-talented,
    > I was truly impressed. Who wrote the script to this play,
    > it was
    > beautifully done. That young boy (Kawamoto) who played the
    > lead did a
    > memorable perfomance. I went to your web site and want to
    > know more about
    > how we can become more involved. How do we get info about
    > upcoming
    > cultural events such as the bingata activity you did
    > earlier this year? Is
    > there a way of getting on your mailing/email list that
    > notifies us of your
    > next endeavor? Are you a nonprofit organization? What
    > other kinds of
    > things do you do? Do you teach sanshin? How about
    > drumming?
    > From your play I have come to understand this photo that we
    > have of our
    > grandfather. On Maui, after they had settled and become
    > accustomed to
    > their new home, he put on a large Okinawan music/dance
    > production and I
    > always wondered why when they were still struggling he
    > would spend so much
    > time, effort and financial resources to put together this
    > event. Now I
    > understand from your play that it was to uplift and bring
    > together the
    > generations to transfer to the youth the values and ideals
    > of the mother
    > country. Thank you for that insight. I will look at that
    > photo with new
    > eyes and a new appreciation.
    > Please let know about your upcoming events. Oh, and by the
    > way, if you
    > made a DVD of your recent play I would like to purchase it.
    > If you are
    > putting on a second performance please let me know. I
    > would like my son to
    > see it.
    > I notice from your web page that you teach classes. What
    > are you teaching
    > right now? I am interested in taking sanshin lessons. Can
    > you learn to
    > play the sanshin without singing? I would also like to
    > learn to play the
    > drums.
    > Thank you,
    > Priscilla

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