As Eisa instructor of tr'ensemble
, I traveled to Heshikiya in Okinawa to learn more about #Eisa
. What happened there keeps me speechless. It happened thanks to the welcoming and hospitable spirit of the Okinawans.
Mr Maezato, who became a good friend of me, runs a tea- & guesthouse, called Agarimejo
. Additionally, he volounteers as secretary of the Heshikiya Eisa Culture Preservation Society. He set up some of the most unforgettable experiences in my life, one of which was to learn the oldest form of Eisa, which is still preserved in Heshikiya. I had the honour to learn from Mr Azuma and Mr Nakao (both having the age of 75) who know in highest detail about the history of Eisa and its connections to local people and culture. I eagerly listened, in order to be able to transmit this knowledge.
Communitary customs such as Eisa face the challenge of being kept going, especially nowadays with changing lifestyles and aging societies. Such concerns lead the Heshikiya Eisa Culture Preservation Society to invite the media, which all came to cover the session: Okinawa Times
and Ryukyu Shimpo
Due to the media coverage, Mr Katsuren of the Executive Committee of the Sanshin Sending Project approached me, saying he wants to donate 5 Sanshin to me, to help spreading Okinawan culture in Europe.
I carefully thought about this offer during some days. During that time, the wish to teach #utasanshin
(singing and playing okinawan folk songs) grew bigger and bigger in me. Which lead me to accept the offer.
On a third occasion, the Society to spread knowledge about a historical figure, Heshikiya Chobin, invited me to their new year meeting, where they wished me good luck with my new tasks of improving and spreading Eisa and utasanshin.
See the photos in highest resolution
(13 images as a gallery).