Ryujin no Utage ’14 is Feast of Dragon God
By Bill Charles
In ancient times of the Ryukyu Kingdom, it was said that Ryujin was a God who reincarnated into a dragon, and was the one who controlled and governed the water.
Historical beliefs not withstanding, Ryujin is a powerful influence in Okinawa, and Taiko drums are important for the impact of the performance, which comes to the Ishikawa Dome on December 14th.
Ryukyu Densetsu, which has performed both inside and outside Japan, is leading this concert performance, incorporating the dragon theme throughout the show. Also performing will be Taiyo-fu Orchestra that mainly performs instrumental music with a motto of providing Okinawan rhythms to the world. Other artists taking part in the show are Hidekatsu, Kozue, Aria, Yuko Miyagi, Ryuta Shiroma, Ryukyu Matsuri Odaiko drum group, Chijinshu Waka Taiyou, and original Eisa dance group Lequios.
It is not just a traditional performing art show but a classic-modern mixed original stage. The stage is on a round ring in Ishikawa Dome, usually used as bullfighting ring. People can overlook the ring anywhere and enjoy the show.
The performers are amazing. More than 20 groups will gather together at the stage. The host group ‘Ryujin Densetsu’ which performs a variety of powerful acts of mixing Eisa, lion dance and Hatagashira, Hidekatsu who is familiar with a modern version Eisa songs, and traditional Ryukyu dance and Eisa groups and many more. Ryo Kuniyoshi, a guitarist who is representative of Okinawa will be on the stage for the first time. Other than that, a local popular singer Chiaki and ‘Ryukyu-koku Matsuri Daiko’ that performs not only in Okinawa but outside of the Island and overseas will attract people. Interestingly, a popular chirographer known for TV commercial, Shusui Taba, violinist ARIA and modern ballet dancers will put some spices on the stage.
Doors open for the concert at Ishikawa Dome, better known as a frequent arena for Okinawan style bullfighting tournaments, on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. and the show starts at 6:30 p.m. Advance tickets are ¥2,500 for adults in advance or ¥3,000 at the door. High School, junior high school and elementary school students enter for ¥1,000 advance or ¥1,500 at the door. Admission is free for pre-school age and younger. Tickets are on sale at Familymart e-plus, Okinawa Tourist, and at some resort hotels Other ticket locations are located on the website http://ryujinnoutage.com/tickets/#pages
To get to Ishikawa Dome take Hwy 58 north from Kadena. After passing Okinawa Renaissance Resort, take the road towards Ishikawa. The silver color Ishikawa dome is on the left just after you pass under the elevated Okinawa Expressway. Free parking is outside the dome.