Oki
   Kokubunji Renge-e-mai

B\@؉

@

The Oki Islands are a treasure chest of awesome natural attractions as well as traditional culture. On Nishinoshima erosion has caused dramatic rock formations of the Kuniga Kaigan (Kuniga Coastline). Matengai, a 257-metre cliff, is particularly famous. Rosoku Jima (Candle Isle) a vertical rock formation, looks exactly like, a burning candle when the setting sun hits its peak. On the nearby hilltops cows and horses grace lazily, offering a contrast to the dramatic scenery.

@

@

Copyright (C) 2003-2006: Kari Gröhn All rights reserved. 

@

@

@

Copyright (C) 2003-2006: Kari Gröhn All rights reserved. 

Makihata is unique farming system adopted by the Nishinosima islanders. Makihata means rotational farming in which the island is divided into four districts and according to season three districts are assigned to cultivation of barley, soybeans and such and one district to pasture of cows and horses. Whereby they successfully prevent repeated cultivation of crops on the same land that otherwise would likely cause a sterility of the soil. Today makihata still exists in that anyone is allowed to pasture cows and horses, regardless of land ownership.

In the Nara and Heian periods, a number of prominent figures were exiled to Oki. Among them was the Emperor Gotoba (1180-1239). In 1221 the Emperor challenged the Kamakura Shogunate but was defeated and exiled. The Emperor was highly intelligent and gifted poet who had a great influence on Okifs culture and customs of the common people. Okifs culture was directly affected by that of sophisticated Kyoto. (Refer to the section gTogyuh which will be uploaded later.)

@

@

Copyright (C) 2003-2006: Kari Gröhn All rights reserved. 

@

@

@

Copyright (C) 2003-2006: Kari Gröhn All rights reserved. 

@

At the kokubunji the local people welcomed me warm-heartedly. Given sekihan (steamed rice with red beans) I entered the temple. Many children gathered there – the school took a special holiday for the occasion I guessed. The Renge-e-mai was performed by the children and for the children. The grown up people watched those little performers and spectators affectionately. 

On the stage two children wearing a mask of bosatsu begin dozing off – gSleeping Hotokeh. It is followed by a single horn lion dance, sward dance by four boys, simple yet lovely farmerfs dance, gSuyakih, Ryuo dance etc., and ends with quiet gHotoke danceh. These dances represent the origin of Japanese religious performing arts and are commonly performed during the falling cherry blossom season. Years ago, 120 different kinds of dances were performed, but in recent years, the number has been significantly reduced.

Kokubunji means provincial temple and one was built in each province in the 8th century under orders from the emperor. Todaiji temple in Nara was built as the head kokubunji.

@

@

Copyright (C) 2003-2006: Kari Gröhn All rights reserved. 

Ranryo Dance
The Ranryo dance is based on the legend from China. The prince of Ranryo called Chokyo, who belonged to the Northern Sei dynasty, ruled from 550 to 557, started a war to pacify the country. This prince was not only intelligent and brave, but also extremely handsome. He therefore could not inspire terror in the enemy. This is why he put on a horrifying dragonfs mask, attacked the enemy, and achieved a complete victory. As a sign of gratitude, his followers to glorify their brave commander created this dance. According to the legend, when this piece is played, peace reigns over the empire, the country flourishes and the earth gives abundant harvest. There are, however, still other opinions regarding the origin of this dance. The style of the dance, with its ample movements, seems to be inspired by Indian or Indo-Chinese dancing. Ranryo is performed on occasions of enthronement of the Emperor and the restoration of peace after the war. 

@

@

Copyright (C) 2003-2006: Kari Gröhn All rights reserved. 

@

@

@

Copyright (C) 2003-2006: Kari Gröhn All rights reserved. 


Back               Home