“The ‘Ukwanshin’ has been a symbol of exchange and peace for the people of Okinawa. In the days of the Ryukyu Kingdom, (1372-1879), the ‘Ukwanshin’ carried the crown and dignitaries from the Ming Emperor in China, to be presented to the ascending king of Ryukyu. This ship also carried and traded goods throughout Asia.
With this in mind, we have chosen to travel on a new ‘Ukwanshin’ to bring our gift of Aloha and gratitude to the people of Okinawa. The people and government of Okinawa have given unselfishly of themselves to help ensure the perpetuation and sharing of the Okinawan culture and arts outside of its homeland. For this we are forever grateful. Okinawa is known as the land of music and dance, and it is through the expression of sound and movements that we find few differences in human feelings and understanding. This silent connection is what offers peace and also allows the perpetuation of cultural identity. Music, dance, and language are the identity of people and are held very dear to the people of the Pacific Islands. Passing down the knowledge of these treasures are important. Should the unique language and music disappear, so will the identity and the people. It is this preservation that the young people of this cast have committed themselves to.”
Ukwanshin, A Journey of Aloha
The Ukwanshin Kabudan is a Ryukyu/Okinawa performing arts troupe based in Hawai`i. The purpose is to maintain the traditional music, dance and cultural art forms while fostering goodwill and undertstanding through sharing . We also participate in educational programs to promote cultural awareness.
The group is under the leadership of Norman Kaneshiro (musical director), and Eric Wada (artistic director). Both have studied in Okinawa and have received their teaching certifications in Okinawa. Norman currently teaches the Okinawa sanshin class at the University of Hawai`i Manoa, and Eric heads the Hawai`i chapter of the Tamagusuku Ryu Shosetsu Kai.