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Teachers to be tested on traditional culture skills

Date Posted: 2006-04-28

Ryukyu dance, Okinawa karate and the three-string sanshin instrument are all part of Okinawa customs and culture.

Teaches will soon find themselves being tested on their knowledge of the arts. The Okinawa Prefecture Board of Education announced this week it will add sanshin performances, Ryukyu dance and Okinawan karate to the second stage skill examinations for public schools teachers. The new examinations will begin next year. The move has triggered comment from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, which says it is extremely rare for local traditional culture and arts to be integrated into teacher employment examinations. “People experienced in these things will lead to children understanding traditional Okinawan arts and culture,” a board member says. Test performances will focus on elementary stages of the arts. Those passing the first stage examination will select one of the three arts for focus on the second stage exam.

The sanshin performance will be “Aha-Bushi,” a northern Okinawa classic. The Ryukyu dance will be the traditional “Kagiyadefu”, while karate involves Fukyugata I or II, an art form the prefecture government selected in 1941.

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