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Tarama folk dance performed in Tokyo

Date Posted: 2001-06-16

An officially designated “Intangible Cultural Asset,” a folk play “Tarama Island Hounensai,” was played first time outside Okinawa at Tokyo’s National Theater, Saturday.

Hounensai means “August Dances,” and it has been performed on the tiny Tarama Island located half-way between Miyako and Yaeyama, for centuries. The play is performed entirely by local residents who have no formal training, but only tradition and enthusiasm to continue it.

At the National Theater, a total of seventy-five people of all ages from the island performed a variety of traditional dances that originated from the Ryukyu Kingdom, and also dragon and group dances. The “Hounensai” dances are said to have evolved and preserved from two different sources; one that prays for rich harvest is originally from Tarama Island, the other came from the Ryukyu kingdom’s royal court at the end of the Ryukyu era about 150 years ago.

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