“Danju Kariyushi” Brings Audience to Their Feet With Nostalgia, History, Connection.

"Kudai Kuduchi", finally returning to LooChoo

“Danju Kariyushi” played to a sold out audience that experienced laughter, tears, nostalgia, history, and connection to identity. Stories that many had heard in bits and pieces unfolded on stage and connected pieces that brought closure to some and enabled others to fit in the missing pieces to understand stories they had heard before.

Short clips of Okinawan style “kageki” or musical play drama, were incorporated and brought back fond memories to many in the audience that remember “shibai” that cam to Hawaii in the past and played at places like Farrington and Mckinley Auditoriums.  “It’s been so long since I saw shibai”, said one lady.  “Those scenes brought me back to the time,

Directing before the show

and I could feel the emotion”   The audience didn’t know what to expect as characters entered from random areas, as the whole theater was used as the stage.  The most awesome experience was the bonfire that looked so real and had smoke that rose and moved as if the message was being sent to the departing boat.  Norman’s masterpiece was really something that people will talk about and remember.

Young protectors of our culture

Ukwanshin sends out its “Nifwe Debiru”, to Terry Sensei and Taiko Kai, for initiating this show, and inspiring a new challenge.  Kudos also to the Young Okinawans of Hawai`i for their hard work and time in bringing to the stage “all male” local young men for Okinawan dance, and in representing the continuation of our culture for the future generation.  Also to Terry Sensei’s two karate assistant sensei, Chris Lau, and Kevin Sakamoto in joining in with the Young Okinawans. Terry Sensei’s family also is commended for their hard work and time, and putting up with all the stress.  Lee, Terry sensei’s daughter, did great in taking lead as stage manager.  That task for such a complicated script was one that not many were vying

Telling a story through the heart

for. Thanks so much Lee.  Ty, Terry sensei’s son, did a great job in leading the stage crew to have props on/off on time, and in working order.  Mahalo again to Ty and the stage crew! Thanks to Jamie Oshiro for her always soothing and heart connecting voice and narration and is so important to the connection to the audience and emotion.  Back stage assisting with costume and make-up was Jimpu Kai’s Yuki Shiroma and Grace Carmichael, as well as Teshin Kai’s Junko Bise, who helped with hair for some cast members.  Kyra Tila, won the

Maui Taiko Kai gives us glimpse to the past.

hearts of the audience in her role as the little girl being sold.  My students Takao Miyazaki, Shizue Afuso, and Hitomi Takahashi were absolute in their dance accuracy, as well as being flexible with other roles they were put into on short notice. Keith Shimabukuro brought us to realizing the distrought and loss as LooChoo’s king.  He also reminded us of how hard the luna were on the plantation workers.  Mako Willet added emotion with her voice, and came to join us all the way from Seattle.  Christina, and Miki were also calm and excellent in adding to extra scenes.  Christina’s weaving prop also was intricate and added to that short clip.  The jikata, as usual..(Keith Nakaganeku, Derek Fujio, Derek Shiroma, Lynn Miyashiro, Richie Yamashiroya, Ka`eo Shiroma, Travis Oshiro) gave the traditional sounds and connection to music our ancesotrs have passed on to us. Norman’s lack of sleep, props, insistance to perfection, and foresight, is always a blessing and priceless as Co producer, director, musical director and technical director.  Thank you to all the others such as ushers and volunteers who we couldn’t have done this without.

Mostly, “Ippe Nifwe Debiru” goes out to all of you who supported us and came to experience our

Modern day "Uekata"

story…well not really our story, but the story of our ancestors.  “Uyafwafuji…ippe nifwedebiru!”  We should all now understand that we must work hard, and some suffering in our lives cannot compare to what those before us have experienced.

Please continue to keep in touch with us as we look forward to presenting you with more “adventures’.

Eric Wada

7 thoughts on ““Danju Kariyushi” Brings Audience to Their Feet With Nostalgia, History, Connection.

  1. Cher

    What a great performance! I had asked my Okinawan side of the family to attend with me and they declined thinking it was a more traditional play. Boy, did they miss out! I am 3rd generation Okinawan/Japanese and this performance was very informative, heartfelt, and exciting. There were facts about the culture, beautiful costumes, and music that I didn’t know were so different from Japanese style. I was sitting in the front row and was able to view the emotions that all the performers went through. It is touching when the actors are so involved with their parts that they become the character. Though, I must say my favorite part of the performance was the ending. I had to stand up and dance because I was afraid of missing out on the obon dance fun. 🙂 The only disappointment that I had was that there was only one showing. I would have loved for my reluctant family members to go and see. But alas, all good things come to an end. Thank you Mr. Wada and crew for a memorable night!

  2. admin

    Thank you so much for your comment. Its great to hear those reactions as we always want the audience to react and be emotional with us and become part of the story. We are not there to be put on a pedestal, nor to be oggled at, but to give a story and message of our identity and ancesotrs..partiularly, Danj Kariyushi. We are thinking of doing this again and hope to see you there…thank you again.

  3. Helen

    he show/play was very moving. there were parts that tears came to my eyes. I had to brush them aside. A few years back they had a tiga drama a year long historical story of the satsuma clan. I was able to recall and gave me a historical prospective of the dances that depicted that era and the suffering.
    Two actually one of my friends, the other was her friend, who are Uchinanchu, but consider themselves Okinawan enjoyed it immensly. I’m so glad I invited them. they were able to reflect there own hard times. Sadakogracuated from McKinley in I believe 1946 attended UH, became a teacher but taught in chicago for over 30 years and now retired here. the weekend of the 16-17 is very busy for bon dance. Waianae has their bon dance and depending on what Colleen Hanabusa has planned, Iwakuni has one at Shinshu Kyokai.
    John Berger writes for the Honolulu Star Bulletin. When I see him, I will tell him of the wonderful article he wrote. Whoever talked to him must have impressed him. I’ll ask his reaction of the person who spoke to him.
    The venue was excellent. Well organized. The line were manageable, the ticket and ushers were very helpful. It helped that the rows of seats were wide. I would not sell reserved seats. First come first served is fine. as to those who held seats for their friends was not a problem. after all they were propably the first ones to buy their tickets and for their friends. They were also the first ones to stand in line for their friends. as for the latecomers they were told it was free seating. they can come at 5’o’clock the next time. Don’t worry about the long lines at the toilet, that is not your problem not was the broken wheelchair lift.
    It was also interesting the large number of seniors, I am one of them, but those in their 80’s and I’m sure 90’s who were there. They were brought over by their grandchildren and great grandchildren. In a subltle way, these children want to know about their ancestral heritage because in a large part, their parents don’t talk about it or even not know or care. Just an observation.
    Congratulations and thank you, thank you for bringing the story to us.
    PS. I know a little about theatre. I like the drumers and the hidden sameshin and singers. If you had more money an elevated stage with a gauge curtain would be nice

    Helen Rauer

  4. Dawn Farinas

    it was touching on several occasions. The little girl going to geisha and the husband and wife, I really liked the guy singing alone after the war. snif, snif! I didn’t recognize you as the king! That was you right? hahaha but I loved you as luna! So funny. I enjoyed the second half more because of the interaction with short skits and humor. The drummers were awesome and dances so graceful. The little side stage scenes were a nice touch to bring the story along. You all did a wonderful job! Thank you so much for sharing the experience with me. I will definately go check out the website.

  5. Laraline Keohokapu

    The scene with the mother and daughter leaving each other. That was hard to keep from crying. Excellent work! Another hana hou would be greatly appreciated. Have a good day at work. I really enjoyed myself. My twin sister Noelani and my aunty Chris was very happy to be there. They didn’t know the history of Okinawa either. They will come to the next performance.
    Ahui hou,

  6. Jamie Oshiro

    Thank you Ukwanshin Kabudan and Hi Taiko Kai for a very memorable and prolific show. pfheew…This was a very emotional and powerful script to work with…many times challenging for me to hold back my tears…and ho took me awhile to recover too…boo hoo hoo…(violins) well enough of my own drama!….Moving on to the good stuff… I have been getting so many positive comments about the show and its after effects…people are talking reminiscing, figuring things out, putting their puzzles together of their parents lives and their ancestors…with a better understanding of what happened through out our history.
    So many great stories! I just wish I wasnt so tired when they are sharing with me so I can remember clearly…
    I gotta get a recorder…the stories are too precious to lose. anyway….getting back on track…

    This is the magic of the show… allowing us all to question, talk story, ask more ?s, resolve, forgive, heal, breathe, reconnect, be in deep love and gratitude for all that our Grandparents and ancestors gave to us.
    And after Eric’s kimono talk last night I’m curious to know where my Babans kimonos are. She was a dancer,musician, weaver. I want to look at them. Ok…Who has them? Call me.

    Lastly I just want to say thank you very much to Terry, Eric and Norman Sesei for your ongoing vision, committment, dedication and passion to our culture and arts.
    We have all been blessed by your teachings.
    Much love and gratitude,
    Jamie Oshiro

  7. Alberta

    Hi Uncle Keith,
    Thanks for sending the you tube link and thank you for inviting us to watch the performance. David and I really enjoyed it! I’ve been to many of your dance performances and the play that was held at Mamiya Theater. By far I believe this was the best I seen yet! It was an eye opening experience for me to see how hard life was for our ancestors and how they were ridiculed over the decades. Yet, Okinawans still held true to their heritage, worked hard and stay humble till today. I was very familiar with the music used since I grew up watching you perform those songs and attempting to teach us young ones! That’s why it moved me even more the way it was incorporated into those scenes. It was as if I transported back in time and took a glimpse of how our family lived and the experiences they’ve gone through just so I could have the privileged life that I now live.
    I like the way the cast used the entire stage than just staying in the middle. I think you did an awesome job playing the emperor and the Luna, you were right in your element:) Loved the words you used as it was like sitting at home listening to mama. David was impressed with the smoke effects too. Uncle Eric was awesome as usual. His dance movements were mesmerizing! And of course Uncle Norman’s music arrangement was brilliant!
    Well I’m sure that won’t be the last time we see that performance so some suggestions of improvement would be to work on a better sound system. Also, rather than having a black room during the time you’re playing the news clip of the war, maybe flash images of Japanese war planes flying over Hawaii. Have you considered having the play at the Hawaii Theater?
    Thanks again for the opportunity and can’t wait till the next one. Omedeto gozai masu!

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