Posted by ampontan on Sunday, November 4, 2012
SOME people memorialize wars by prolonging the anger as long as possible, all the better to infect the innocent of younger generations with the same poison. Within that sickness, there is one benefit: It provides an artificial sense of meaning and life to people unable to find it in more productive activities.
But there are better memorials, and one of them was demonstrated in Itoman, Okinawa, on Saturday last week. The prefectural branch of Mindan, the South Korea-affiliated organization for Japanese-born Korean citizens, and the prefecture’s Japan-Korea Friendship Association held a commemorative ceremony at the Mabuni War Memorial for those Koreans who died in Okinawa during the Second World War. About 100 people attended.
Said the Mindan representative: “It is our responsibility to prevent the memories from fading and to never again wage war.” The chairman of the friendship association expressed similar sentiments: “It is our wish that the lessons of war be conveyed forever to the future, and for lasting peace to extend from Okinawa to the world.”
The event featured three performances of music and dance. One performer was Terukina Choichi, a national living treasure (an official designation) who played Nakafu-bushi on the sanshin. Here is his recording of it with Kinjo Kumiko singing.
Matsuda Akane performed the Karaya-bushi dance with a short song. The reports say the dance has Korean elements, but they weren’t specified. Also called the Moon Viewing Dance, the 450-year-old song-and-dance originates in a story told about a Chinese man who came to Okinawa and began to make roof tiles. This was a new technology for the Okinawans, and they were so impressed the King asked him to stay. He agreed on the condition that he be allowed to marry a woman who had caught his fancy.
She was already married, but when a king speaks, commoners listen, so she had no choice in the matter. The lyrics of the song are about climbing to the top of the roof, standing on the tiles, and looking to the south. The singer can see the inlet, but she cannot see her town; i.e., her husband.
This seems to have been a true story. They know where the Chinese man built his kiln on top of a hill. This hill:
Here’s the dance:
Finally, Kim Sun-ja performed the traditional salpuri dance. That’s her in the photo at the top of the post. Salpuri originated in the southwest part of the Korean Peninsula, and was performed to send the spirits of the deceased who can’t let go of this world to the world beyond. It has shamanistic aspects.
Here’s an idea: Apply that sentiment to those memories of the war which keep the poison circulating.
And here’s the salpuri: