JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.92




Japan has a variety of traditional performing arts. One of these is called eisa, a traditional form of folk dance performed in the islands of Okinawa Prefecture during the Bon festival of the lunar calender.

Eisa is a local event in which youth take part in a dance parade through the streets of their community singing and accompanied by a band during the Bon festival of the lunar calender. Eisa, which is said to have begun around 500 years ago, is held to pray for the safety of each household, health and people’s ancestors. This is why eisa is one of the most beloved events among the people of Okinawa.

The must-see spectacle of eisa includes the highly skilled dance performance and the lineup of dancers that perform carefully in sync with one another. Anyone who has seen an eisa performance instantly marvels at the bold sight of the local songs, sanshin (a traditional stringed musical instrument of Okinawa), taiko drums, and teodori dance (a dance of hand).

Summer Festival in Naha held on August 6th featured “The Ten thoudsnd People Eisa Dance”. This included 30 participants from the Eisa club of JMSDF Fleet Air Wing 5 called “Churaumi no Sakimori (Defender of Beautiful Sea of Okinawa)” who helped to make the festival exciting for all.

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