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  • Writer's pictureAmy S

Exploring Okinawa | 10,000 Eisa Parade

Updated: Sep 12, 2022

It's been 3 years since Okinawa has seen the Eisa dance and heard the taiko drums perform up and down its famous Kokusai street. It was a scene of happiness and pride for the Okinawan people. And for me, it was a very grateful and happy moment too, as this was my first time experiencing it for myself.

Starting out as a way to revive Kokusai Dori, an international marketplace full of vendors and restaurants, the 10,000 Eisa Dancers Parade has proven to be a great way to pull the community together and strengthen its bonds with both each other and those visiting.

Every first Sunday in August (except for the last couple of years), Eisa groups from allover come down and perform. You'll see children, adults and the elderly perform both traditional and more modern styles of the dance. My favorite, of course, is the traditional style. The familiar drum beats and costumes provide a sense of pride of the history the Eisa dance has given Okinawans throughout the world.

I have family members who have danced in this parade several times. It's a right of passage for many Okinawan kids, teens and young adults. The taiko drums beat loudly in unison, you can feel the heartbeat of the Ryukyu islands when you hear it. And no matter where you are, you know it's going to be a good time.

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