Abstract

Kumi odori is an aristocratic dance-drama developed in 1719 by Tamagusuku Chōkun as part of Okinawan court performance for the ritual investiture of the monarch. Shūshin Kani'iri (Possessed by Love, Thwarted by the Bell) was written for this court presentation and has remained one of the most frequently performed works. The all-male form, which combines music, dance, and narrative, has Okinawan, Chinese, and Japanese roots. Kumi odori's most important performances for 250 years were in the context of ukwanshin entertainments for the official envoys sent by the Chinese emperor. With the demise of court in 1879, the genre languished until it was designated as an important cultural asset by the Japanese government in 1972. This article gives an introduction to kumi odori based on the practice of Kin Ryōshō, an important twentieth-century practitioner of the form. A translation of the 1719 classic Shūshin Kani'iri (Possessed by Love, Thwarted by the Bell) with stage directions reflecting Kin Sensei's choreography gives an example of this important art. Shūshin Kani'iri has been a consistent part of the repertoire and was recently presented at the opening of the new National Kumi Odori Theatre (Kokuritsu Kumi Odori Gekijō) in Urasoe-shi near Naha in 2004.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2109
Print ISSN
0742-5457
Pages
pp. 1-32
Launched on MUSE
2005-02-15
Open Access
No
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