Happy Father’s Day!
Although the 6-episode web drama “Ghosts Can’t Dance (Yūrei wa Odorenai)” was uploaded to YouTube back in March, I finally finished watching it recently and it’s so good (lots of feels)! Anyone with an interest in Ryukyu culture (both pop and traditional) shouldn’t miss this. The web drama is produced by the Kariyushi Geinou Kouen (Traditional Okinawan Performing Arts) and features the original theme song “Don’t forget” by upcoming singer-songwriter Kina Kanon.
YouTube link to the first episode of “Ghosts Can’t Dance”.
Okay, so it wasn’t the news of who will be singing the drama’s theme song that we’re waiting for but the announcement of the logo designed by Kosugi Koichi. At this rate, we’ll probably see a new Twitter account for the drama before the theme song is announced. 😂
And, yes! We have two additional Uchinanchu that were announced as cast members for the upcoming NHK asadora “Chimudondon”. You probably noticed that we mention Gori a lot and now we get to mention his Garage Sale partner Kawata Hiroki! You may recall him from “Churasan” so it’s great to see him on this new asadora too (it would be funny if the characters are somehow related but I don’t think that’ll be happening 😂). In “Chimudondon”, Kawata will be playing the role of the master at Sunset Burger so it sounds more of a supporting role.
The other Uchinanchu cast member is radio personality and free-announcer Kyan Hitomi who will be playing the obaa role for the Aragaki family.
So all that remains is the theme song and artist. We’re hoping that it’ll be Anly (from Iejima).
Here is my latest music mix which can be listened to now online at K.O.L. Radio. This time it’s a mix of songs from the Sakishima Islands that …Sakishima Islands Mix
So a funny thing happened. While we were excited to hear about an upcoming NHK Asadora that takes place in Okinawa called “Chimumdondon“, we were also holding our breath to see how the rest of the cast would play out. NHK is slowly rolling out the names of the drama’s cast and when they started off with Nakama Yukie (playing the role of the heroine’s mother Higa Youko) we all breathed a sigh of relief — until the rest of the names (only Yukie is Uchinanchu) was announced 😂. As the cast announced is only of the Higa (heroine’s) family and the theme song’s singer hasn’t been determined yet, we can only hope that we’ll see more Uchinanchu represented in a drama that’s. Set. In. Okinawa.
But, yeah, we know. Ryukyu no Kaze. Churasan. Should we just be happy that there’s a large production (from NHK) that’s filmed in Okinawa and features a few Uchinanchu in its cast and crew?
Tweeted by actor/model Shogen, a 2019 film he stars in called “Okinawan Blue (Kokoro, Odoru)” — written and directed by Kishimoto Tsukasa (remember his name as he’s one to watch) — is available for streaming on Filmdoo.
Also streaming on Filmdoo is 2012’s “Karakara” a Canadian film written and directed by Claude Gagnon and one that I was able to watch at the Hawaii Film Festival. While not as Okinawan (lead actors are not Uchinanchu) as “Okinawan Blue”, at least the music is by one of my favorite musicians, Ara Yukito (Parsha Club).
You can also find other films (some of them are free!) from Okinawa that are (or aren’t yet) available on Filmdoo by creating a filter search on their website. Be sure to vote on the films you want to watch that aren’t yet available in your region!
My Twitter feed exploded with news of Koh Flippin joining the Ryukyu Golden Kings team. The 25 year old 6’2″ Torrance, California native (his mother is from Naha) comes to the Kings from the Chiba Jets and plays guard. I love his tweet announcing his joining the Kings: “Haisai! I’m Koh Flippin. Yutashiku!!”
A comment from Koh on the Kings’s website says “Okinawa is a special place for me that is my roots and and also my identity.”
We look forward to watching his amazing plays!
A recently launched podcast called “Ichariba Choodee” gives a new voice to our community.
There are many more names for the peoples of these islands. Hear the many voices and stories of those identifying as Shimanchu (or Uchinachu).
Celebrating and preserving our culture, connecting the diaspora, and both proudly and humbly educating and learning along the way. Hosted by Tori, Erica Kunihisa, and Mariko Middleton.
Ichariba Choodee is a beautiful Ryukyan saying translating roughly to, ‘When we meet, we become brothers, sisters, family.’https://www.shimanchupodcast.com
Added! I listened to their first episode and I’m excited to watch them grow. Subscribe (link to Apple Podcasts) to their podcast on your favorite app.
Speaking of MAX, they’re really on a roll this year with music releases, YouTube, and now an upcoming online concert. “MAX ONLINE LIVE ‘Summer Blast 2021′” will take place on Sunday, July 4th (Japan time) and members of their fan club (J-MAX NEO) have access to an after-talk with an encore song. Unfortunately, there is no archive for the concert so it’s a one-time viewing. Info can be found on their production company’s website.