Kudai Kuduchi:A Joyful Return Home

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‘Kuduchi” is a familiar word in the Nisei udui, or classical men’s dance genre. Not only within the court, but villages throughout Okinawa have also created “kuduchi” with their own stories. Usually having to do with travel, the lyrics are written in a more ‘waka” or Japanese poetic style, than the Ryuka, or Ryukyan style. One of the more famous, but less performed kuduchi is “Kudai Kuduchi”. This dance and song, tells of the return voyage from Satsuma, to Okinawa. The words are very detailed, from leaving Kagoshima, receiving papers of release, to the poetic discription of excitement and joy to return as the sails of the ships fill and the envoy races home to see people standing arm in arm awaiting their retuen on shore. A famous utaki, or sacred grove is mentioned in this song, and is still preserved today. Bin nu Utaki, is on a mountainous slope near the castle in Shuri, and was one of the landmarks that could be seen as you approached from sea. This was also one of the few utaki that the king came to worship at. If you have a chance, you should visit these historical sites on your next trip to LooChoo. For anyone connected to the Okinawan performing arts, these places make the songs and dances even more valuable.