In this paper, the dynamics of Okinawan performing arts in Nanyo is examined. During the period of Japanese administration (1914-1945), numerous people from Okinawa moved to Nanyo for work. Especially in Saipan, Okinawan performing arts with sanshin accomplishment flourished. In the 1920s, Okinawan ordinary people with sanshin moved to Nanyo. In the 1930s, playhouses of Okinawan performing arts were built in Saipan and Tinian and Ryukyuan classical dance and music disseminated to Okinawan immigrants. Inspired by ballet and the local dance movements, Inkichi Iraha composed and choreographed “Nanyo hama chidori”. The sound of the sanshin filled Saipan. These Okinawan entertainments, however did not influence the local dance and music. On the contrary, Okinawans adopted the Carolinian marching dance as an entertainment around 1940. The dance called tomin/Kanaka odori became popular and was performed at the harvest ceremony of the Nanyo Kohatsu Kaisha. Among the dance materials, “uatorofi” was most popular. The marching dance encouraged Okinawans in Camp Susupe soon after the Pacific war. Returnees revived tomin/Kanaka odori as good memories of a harvest in Nanyo after the 1960s, while keeping a lot of painful memories during the war. At Soki district, Ginoza village, the sanshin, which had become an instrument of the Okinawans since the 1920s was introduced, while at Enobi district, Uruma city, they kept the harmonica as an accompaniment of the dance. The tomin/Kanaka odori look exotic their due to the performers’ make up, attire and dance movements. People imagine the dance and Okinawan town in Nanyo during the Japanese period centrifugally, while enjoying the present dance centripetally. Supported by the Okinawan culture of village entertainment, the centripetal/centrifugal forces works their memory and imagination active, which sustain the champuru Okinawan tomin dance.
A brief history of Okinawan court music and sanshin
Okinawan immigrants and sanshin in Nanyo
Okinawan music and juri in Nanyo
“Nanyo hama chidori”
The Carolinian Marching dance and “uatorofi”
Discussion on the Okinawan marching dance