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Naha City “Playgirls” March in Naha City

Date Posted: 2000-02-04

A notorious “Juliumma” march took place at Naminoue, Naha City on the 20th of January. This traditional march, involving over 700 young women dressed in Ryukyu kimonos, last took place in 1988. The event commemorates the first act legalizing “prostitution” that was passed 350 years ago. “Prostitution” activity in this context can be compared to that of the “geishas” in mainland Japan. The controversial concept behind “Juliumma” has often led to cancellations of the march in years past. However, one participant this year argued that “the march is not aimed at praising prostitution, but is a recognition of the beginning of the ‘womanhood’ after liberation from parenthood.” According to many young women who participated in the event, the culture should be preserved.” The word “Juliumma” could be literally translated as “play-around, girl, horse.” Marching attire includes the wooden head of a horse strapped to the chest.

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