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Two Okinawa sites added to Cultural Heritage Assets

Date Posted: 2005-01-27

Two folklore elements of Okinawa –a dance and a play-- have been chosen as Japanese Intangible Cultural Assets.

The Japan Cultural Council selected Ginoza Village’s August Play, and Awase’s traditional Chondaraa of Awase dance to the prestigious position. They were chosen as traditional dances with special moves which show the island’s color and character in strong fashion.

The Chondaraa dance features samshin and taiko drums, with a story told of a rider on horseback. The Chondaraa has been around for more than 100 years, and young people from the Awase and Shuri areas have learned to play the music involved.

Ginoza Village’s August Ashibi play focuses on the lunar calendar, with the August 15th date each second year as the time of a good harvest festival. The play sees interaction with karate, comedians and dancing. The play began in 1896, and has been popular in the northern region ever since. Ginoza residents have pledged to keep and protect the play forever, something the new status affords.

A third Okinawa folklore program was also nominated to the Japan Cultural Council. The Prefecture had recommended the ShiShi dance of Nago, Motobu Town and Nakijin Villages.

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