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Juri Horse Dance Back After 12 Year Ban

Date Posted: 2001-03-02

A controversial festival, staged in honor of prostitutes, which has not been seen in recent years, reappeared last weekend in the Tsuji district of Naha City.

Tsuji used to be Naha’s red-light district and the Juri Horse festival was held there for 350 years. Prostitutes dressed in colorful outfits used to perform the horse dance every New Year’s Day on the old calendar.

The dance was staged to bring auspicious conditions for a good harvest and profitable business. However, the Juri dance (Juri means prostitute in the Okinawan dialect) has not been performed since 1989, when a feminist group criticized the decadence of the event.

Sunday afternoon’s Juri Horse Festival, in which 600 people took part, was the first since 1989.

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