Article ”Impressed with every move” (Ryūkyū Shimpō)
Impressed with every move
A 20 years long-cherished wish
A kobudō demonstration held
Published in the Ryūkyū Shimpō newspaper of November 27, 1961
Sponsored by the Kobudō Association with the support of the Okinawa Times and the Ryūkyū Shimpō, the “Kobujutsu Demonstration” was held at the Naha Gekijō Theater on the afternoon of January 26th from PM1:00 with the intent of preserving and disseminating the martial arts (1) that have been passed down locally for a long time.
Concerned about the preservation of martial arts, related people have been eagerly preaching out for more than two decades. Preservation through photographic filming was also thought about at some time, but it did not bear fruit. Finally, the demonstration was held 16 years after the war.
On this day, the venue that was Naha Theater was filled with an enthusiastic crowd, including people from far away Minami Daito. Two hours before the beginning at AM 11:00, the room was filled by 80% and when the demonstration started, the hall was packed with no room to stand. A large number of late-arrived people stood outside the venue, and many famous people from various fields, including Chief Executive Ōta and Tōma Jūgō (2) were also present.
The demonstration started with a greeting speech from the Association’s president Mr. Higa. It was followed by 83 years old Nohara Kamaichi, first on the list of more than 70 people kobudō seniors and their students from the entire Ryūkyū islands. All performed their unique skills and received warm applauses from the audience.
The event was divided into two parts. The first part introduced mainly demonstrations from young people while the second part comprised mainly performances by seniors. Yet, the martial arts performed by the seniors were truly honed over the years, and the crowd was fascinated by the elegance of each move.
According to the president of the association Higa Seitoku, the performers who participated in the demonstration were still a small part of the whole, and whenever there will be a chance, he would like to introduce those who could not perform this time.
Chief Executive Ōta, who saw the demonstration commented as follow.
Words from Mr. Ōta: I was very impressed. The preservation or dissemination of old martial arts is also significant in the creation of a new culture. It is necessary to preserve the brilliant culture of Okinawan ancestors. Furthermore, as performers came not only from Naha and Okinawa main island but also from Minami Daito I learned that kobudō is popular and has spread throughout all the Ryūkyūs. This is really reassuring.
Words from Tōma Jūgō, chairman of the Sport Association: I came with the interest of seeing martial arts that I haven’t seen before. The kon or staff martial arts as in Tenryū-no-kon, Yonegawa-no-kon, Sakugawa-no-kon was good. I have been watching kobudō for many years since I was a student, but this is the first time that the elders of all the Ryūkyūs gathered and performed together. I am delighted that they held such a good event.
(1) In the original text written as “Bujutsudō”
(2) Ōta Seisaku was the Chief Executive of the Government of the Ryūkyū Islands from October 1959 to November 1964. Tōma Jūgō was Mr. Ōta’s predecessor.