Japanese Chura arrives in Sana’a [Archives:2004/773/Last Page]

September 16 2004
Chura members dressed in traditional Japanese costumes and displaying a wonderful dance show
Chura members dressed in traditional Japanese costumes and displaying a wonderful dance show
Yemeni dancers participating in the reception ceremony
Yemeni dancers participating in the reception ceremony
By Shaker Mohammed
& Ramzi al-Absi
Yemen Times Staff

The Japanese ambassador to Sana'a had on Tuesday given a reception party at his residence to Okinawa Song and Dance Theater, Chura, who are taking part in festivals in the frame of Sana'a as the 2004 Arab Cultural Capital.
The reception party was attended by Mohammed Mubarak Athban, chairman of the Yemeni-Japanese Friendship Society, a number of Culture Ministry's staff, and media personnel.
The party started with a show performed by the Yemeni Popular Band that was highly appreciated by the audience.
Then the ambassador delivered a speech welcoming the visiting theater, pointing out the strong Yemeni-Japanese ties.
The director of the theater talked about the history of the theater saying they would perform on the Sept 15 and 16 at the Cultural Center.
The Traditional dancing troupe from Okinawa, Japan has come under the auspices of the Embassy of Japan in Sana'a in coordination with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and will present a number of Japanese songs. and dance shows. The performances will take place at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th September 2004, at the Cultural Center in Sana'a.
The performance includes two parts. Part 1 “Spring of Joy, Feast of Peace” which expresses spring, with lustrous kimonos and flowered head dresses, with designs of flowing red and ocean blue to symbolize Okinawa.
The dance in Part 2, “Autumn of rich harvest, feast of symbiosis” expresses the joy and vitality of island life under the hot sun in Okinawa and the lively “sturdiness” and “toughness” of fishing villages which depend on the ocean for life and food. It also illustrates farm life with the unique farming implements of East Asia such as the hoe, sickle and pallet, and choreographed to express the joy of harvest.
Okinawa is an island located in the southern part of Japan. This island is considered a treasure chest of traditional Japanese culture. “Chura” was the first dancing troupe of its kind in Okinawa, and is featured by its composition of exclusively professional female dancers.
This is the second participation of the Japanese Embassy in the activities of “Sana'a 2004 the Arab Cultural Capital.” Their first involvement was arranging the 'Japanese Films Days' in July 2004 at the same center.
Through these activities, the Embassy of Japan hopes as many Yemeni people as possible will appreciate the culture and life of Japanese people and accordingly mutual understanding between Yemen and Japan will be further promoted.
Historically speaking, as an international cross-port of the cultures of mainland Japan, China, Korea, and South-East Asia, Okinawa has developed her own unique culture. Through communication with other cultures, Okinawa has cultivated her original “Ryukyu-style” culture which is composed of folklore, fine arts, and opera to name a few. Classic dance, a symbol of Okinawa dance, invites viewers to a world of sophistication and elegant styles of beauty combined with classic aromatic traditions. And you can also find other dances such as: the “Eiisaa Dance” which is a vigorous modern dance incorporating rituals and folklores, and “Creative dances” which depict local life and are accompanied by extravagant songs and “shamisen” (a three-stringed guitarlike instrument).
In Okinawa, women were, and are, responsible for rituals. It is claimed that women can attune themselves to the Creator and her-his Elixir, when expressing joyful sensations in dances and songs. By this process, people can be bestowed with a prosperous worldly life and good offspring. This is called “Onari-Shin Shinkou No Kokoro” (Piety towards Creator), which is sort of pacifism, to respect Nature and Mercy.
“Chura” (The Okinawa Song and Dance Theater) is composed only of ladies, and has preformed successfully not only in Japan, but in many parts of the world. Recently they have toured: South-Korea in November 2000 (on the occasion of Japan Week by Embassy of Japan), Greece in 2001, 7 Asian countries and 4 north European countries in 2002, US and Canada in 2003. These tours of “Chura” have contributed to cultural interaction, and highly valued mutual understanding.