Okinawa Times publishes an article with the title „ Swiss man who loves eisa so much... comes to Okinawa and learns it for two weeks. He is actually also a good sanshin player and has six apprentices.“
エイサーが好きすぎて…スイス人、沖縄に来て2週間習う 実は三線も上手、弟子は6人 （沖縄タイムス）
Emanuel H. (42), a visitor from Basel in northwestern Switzerland, stayed in Uruma City, Okinawa Prefecture, until Jan 16th. to learn about Okinawan culture; on the 10th he learned from members of the Heshikiya Eisa Preservation Society in the city how to hold a Paarankuu and a Bachi according to Heshikiya tradition.
In Switzerland, H. works in urban planning. He had already visited Okinawa in 2006 and became interested in #Eisa and #Sanshin (three-stringed lute). In his home country, he taught himself the dance through videos.
The local people are surprised at how quickly he learns.
H. decided to go to Okinawa for about two weeks during his working holiday because he wanted to learn more and more about Eisa in his home country. He says that the reason for learning Heshikiya Eisa is that "it is what I look for in a beautiful performance in terms of form, posture and softness".
Members of the Heshikiya Eisa Preservation Society acknowledged H's progress with applause. Takeshi Azuma (75) and Seiji Nakao (75), who taught him to play, were surprised at how quickly he had learned.
During his stay at a guesthouse in Kombu, he also took sanshin lessons. Chogi Sakugawa (62), who teaches sanshin to him, said, "I can see how enthusiastic he is because he diligently practices the songs he learns, including using recordings on his smartphone."
Sending five sanshin to Mr H.
On 13 November, the Executive Committee of the Sanshin Sending Project (headed by Moritoyo Katsuren) presented five sanshin to Emanuel H. (42) from Switzerland, who was staying in Uruma City to learn Hirashikiya Eisa and other activities.
The committee sends sanshin to people of Okinawan descent living abroad, and from 2014 to last year has donated sanshin to a total of 10 countries, including Brazil, Germany, France, Hawaii, Peru and Bolivia.
When Mr. Katsuren learned that Mr. H had come to Okinawa to study Okinawan culture, MP Katsuren presented him with 5 sanshin and said, "Please use them. The sanshin I am handing you is 105 cho long".
Mr. H. said, "I have a total of six students in Switzerland and practice Sanshin with three people related to Okinawa. We will make use of these sanshin. I am very happy. Thank you very much," he thanked him with the sanshin in his hand.
The committee also plans to present 10 sanshin to the Turkish Embassy this year.
(YOKODA Tokuzo, Correspondent)