Monday, November 5, 2012

Learning About the Dance Called Ushi-deeku

Ten More Photos from an Ushi-deeku


 Researching this cultural event in northern Okinawa, Japan has been interesting.

Depending where you are on the islands, the name of the dance may be different.

 Usudeku, was the search term I used initially because that's what I was told the dance was.

 And, I learned that women, only, perform the ritual, while I was shooting the event.

 A local newspaper had a, Oct 2012 article on Chibana Usudeku.

They say the purpose of the dance is to kick out evil spirits and have a good harvest. 

Chibana is a long way from this village, located in Nago.

So, I pulled my Okinawan-English dictionary off the shelf and looked for "Usudeku".

It wasn't there.

Back up north, I went to see what more I could learn about the ritual.

The friendly people in the village office gave me some printed information.

That's when I noticed (ウシヂーク) Ushi-deeku is what they call the dance.

Thanks to the University of Hawai'i Press and the

Okinawan-English Wordbook we have this information:

"Ushi-deeku, n. A woman's group dance, with hand drums and singing, to express gratitude for a 

rich harvest, usually held on the fifteenth day of the eight lunar month".

The words Usudeku and Ushi-deeku may be interchangeable, or not.

The more you research, the more you find.

Today, I found a YouTube video of Usudeku on Kudaka Island.

There is a lot more to be learned about this dance.

We will go out there and getterdun, one of these days.

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