Ryukyuans – Festivites Within The Islands

The Ryukyuan People

The indigenous group that interests me are the Ryukyuan people (also known as the Lewchewan people). This group is located in the Ryuku Islands, which is located between the islands of Kyushu and Taiwan. I have always been drawn to Asia’s culture, especially those located close to Japan. I though it would be interesting to learn more about the origins of the people who had first settled in these areas. I also thought it might be interesting to see how their cultural aspects may have effected modern day culture and beliefs. Ryukyuan people hold many activities throughout the year but some of their larger events take place during the summer months. For instance, Tanabata takes place in July. During this event wishes are written on paper strips which are hung to bamboo trees. The Obon Festival also takes place in July, during so people participate in Eisa Dancing. It is believed ancestors gather with their living relatives and over the course of three to four days, the families give offerings and dance with one another. In August they have harvest festivals. During these festivals Shishimai dances occur; a wooden lion mask and a wool costume is worn. The dance is preformed to loud music that include gongs, drums, bells, flutes, etc.

The map shows that the islands are quite small in comparison to Japan. Okinawa is the largest island that is part of the Ryukyu islands.

The second map shows the chain of islands. They are located southwest of Japan, are approximately 1,100 kilometers in length, and are made up of 55 islands in total.