‘Chushu no Utage’ at Shuri Castle recreates splendor of past
Three Living National Treasures of Okinawa will perform classical Ryukyu music and dance at Shuri Castle Park Saturday, while the main event on Sunday is the election of the King and Queen as the park celebrates the mid-autumn harvest season with a party called ‘Chushu-no Utage.’
The events take place in the castle’s Una Forecourt. Admission to the festival is free, and the events run from 18:30 to 21:00 on both days. Classical Ryukyu dance performances accompanied by classical Ryukyu court music start and end the events on each day. On Saturday, Living National Treasures Choichi Terukina, Tokutaro Shiroma and Noho Miyagi perform together on stage.
Sunday’s main event is a contest to select a new king and queen who are then crowned at 8:15 p.m. The king and queen will participate in annual events at Shuri Castle, such as an enthronement ceremony for the new king and New Year ceremonies.
The visual effects of Shurijo Castle Park are spectacular, with visitors able to appreciate the grandeur of the illuminated Seiden State Hall from the festival location in the Una Forecourt. The view from the Western Observatory provides a spectacular and breathtaking evening view of Naha City’s lights.
Shuri Castle was the center of government, politics and daily life throughout Okinawa’s rich history recognized by the World Heritage Organization. The recognition incorporates certified performers with superb mastery of the island kingdom’s intangible cultural heritage of Ryukyu dance and musical drama.
In the past during the days of the Ryukyu Kingdom, envoys from China called Sapposhi visited the kingdom every year, and were celebrated in a series of seven banquets. The “Mid Autumn Celebration (Chushu no Utage)” was one of them.