2015 Gasashi Wakachara Kumiodori on Kumejima

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written here on morethingsjapanese.com.  While I expect most of my regular readers have since moved on, I’m still alive and kicking here on Kumejima. Work and married life have taken up most of the free time I used to operate this blog over the last five years. Still, when I find a chance, I’ll use it to add a post and a picture or two (or 37).

IMG_6452The other day students on Kume Island performed the musical experience that tells a historical Kume Island story with song, dance, and acting. Kume Island has been populated for many thousands of years with the remains of 19 castle ruins still on the island. The Kumiodori tells the story of a Ryukyuan lord and his three sons who lived on Kumejima nearly 500 years ago. While two of the lord’s sons were from one wife, the third, Wakachara, was from a woman from a different island, creating drama and rivalries that ended in the death of the youngest son.

IMG_5958Unlike many musicals, the Kumiodori uses limited sets, instead relying on costumed cast members and a dance crew to set the scene. During battle, the high-tempo black clad dancers create a sense of chaos while other scenes are colorful, happy, or optimistic.

The performers, all junior high and high school students, practice throughout the year, performing the original songs, dance, and story created by the Tao Factory production company.

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The lord, his wife (right) and mother of Wakachara (left)

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Wakachara kills himself instead of battling his family