“Preserving Identity Through Music, Dance, & Stage”
Come with us on this historical, musical journey of our roots.
Have you ever wondered about the sugar cane fields that once spread over the Ewa plains and throughout the countryside? What happened to them and the people who worked there? What experiences did our first generation immigrants experience and what was their connection to their homeland? How are we, as 3rd, 4th , and 5th generations, connected to our roots and places of our ancestors? These are questions coming up and bring to the surface, the many experiences, visions and values that have almost been lost in our fast moving, self centered world. Could finding and understanding who we are help us? How many families sit and talk story about the “good ole days”, or our immigrants’ life, or where they came from? How many know of the deep suffering and often heart wrenching stories of immigrants who felt they let their families back home down because they could not save enough to return home? Many turned to drinking, gambling and even suicide. Why do we need to remember?
“Danju Kariyushi” is a folk song that has been chanted and used for centuries in Okinawa, to send off loved ones on a safe journey. The lyrics speak nothing of the sorrows of parting, but instead, of joyful aspirations, hope, and anticipation for a safe journey and quick return. “Danju kariyushi” embodies not only the optimism and resilience of the Okinawan soul, but also an invitation to all to return home to their roots no matter where their journey takes them.
In this spirit, the Hawai`i Taiko Kai, under the leadership of Terry Higa Sensei, and the Ukwanshin Kabudan, Ryukyu Performing Arts Troupe, presents “Danju Kariyushi”. Incorporating theater with Okinawan music, dance and taiko, we will take a journey and recount key events in Oknawan history…from the Satsuma invasion of 1609, to the establishment of the Hawai`i community. Through this presentation we hope to not only share the struggles of our people to maintain our identity and pride, but also to celebrate our unique culture that has endured centuries of hardship, and which has come to Hawai`i from far across the Pacific. (Photos by Wes Kawachi)