KARAKORO EISA (Japanese Traditional Drum Dance Troupe)
Karada-to-kokoro-no-deai-no-kai (A Group of Body-Mind Integration), commonly known by Karakoro, is a group of people ranging from 3 to 60 years old. Founded in 1980 by Ms. Yoko Matsui. The goal of the group is that people from different fields, such as teaches, doctors, nurses, and parents, devote themselves to camping, dancing, playing music, and making theatrical performances.
So far we, Karakoro members, have traveled various countries, and one of them is Canada. Our traveling began with our first visit to Auschwitz in Poland. As is generally known, Auschwitz is the place where Hitler from Germany slaughtered Jewish people. When that holocaust was taking place, Japan was involved in World WarⅡ.
Japan was invading Asian countries, forming an alliance with Germany. In the last year of the War, the United States fought a land battle on Okinawan islands, and dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That ended World WarⅡ, but in Okinawa a lot of people (one in every four), who ranged from children to the elderly, were killed, and its cultures were destroyed.
Okinawan islands are the southern part of Japan. Many years ago the islands used to form an independent nation known as the Ryukyu Kingdom. Okinawa has wealthy traditional cultures and performing arts handed down from the Ryukyu Kingdom. And the islands have full of beautiful nature.
Eisa is one of traditional performing arts in Okinawa. It is a ceremonial dance performed in every region in Okinawa to welcome and console the souls of their ancestors.
It is performed mainly during the Obon Festival, when ancestor spirits come back to the living world to visit their families. Young people get together and parade the streets, dancing and beating drums with the rhythm of folk music. Each village has its own songs and dances.
In addition to traditional Eisa, which is performed according to traditional arrangements, we have creative Eisa, which is made using various kinds of music such as rocks and other contemporary music.
Visiting Okinawa annually, we have learned about the Okinawan War and absorbed Okinawan cultures, and have been devoted to creative Eisa.
Now Eisa is performed at various festivals in every season throughout Japan, and is loved by pupils at kindergartens and primary schools, and by young adults.
In Okinawa we performed Eisa at various places, such as a Hansen’s disease sanatorium Airakuen, Cornerstone of Peace (Heiwa no Ishiji) and so on. Heiwa no Ishiji is located in the Peace Memorial Park, and shows the names of over 240,000 victims of the Okinawan war, not only Japanese citizens but also people from other countries. We did the Eisa performance in front of Cornerstone of Peace on Memorial Day, June 23rd. Last year we competed a nationwide Creative Eisa Contest in Okinawa City, and won second place.
Also, when we went overseas, we showed our Eisa to people at exchange meetings in different cities and countries, such as the Netherlands, Prague in Czech, New York and Toronto. And we performed our Eisa at Harlem YMCA for an abused children program. In 2009 and 2010 our performance shows were done at the Ryerson University Residence in Toronto. In 2011 we performed Eisa in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada.
At present Japan still maintains its stability at the sacrifice of Okinawa; the 10-percent land of Okinawa is occupied as the U.S. military bases.
The location of Okinawa is considered to be suitable for fighter planes flying to the world. We see a lot of fighter planes leave the bases in Okinawa almost every day.
We Japanese should know and would like people in the world to know the facts mentioned above, and should continue to think about peace.
That is why we have shown our performances in various places, desiring to preserve Okinawan cultures.
We wish for peace.
May we wish the world love and peace.
Our show in Summer Music Festival in NOTL consists of creative Eisa performances and traditional ones.
Yoko Matsui (Leader of Karakoro/Director)
Simcoe Park Bandshell
KARAKORO [Karada to Kokoro no Deaino-kai]
6-6-17-201,Nishinakajima Yodogawa-ku Osaka Japan
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org phone.416-454-5923