As already mentioned, Oshima's answers to the questionnaire were published in the Japanese magazine 'Urma'. We are now including the English translation on this site with the kind permission of the 'Urma' editorial department.
'Urma' is an 'Okinawan style magazine' published by Miura Creative. This issue celebrated the 10th anniversary of its foundation. A special feature focused on 'Sanshin life'. This issue introduced Okinawan music and its history together with an abundance of photos.
Yasukatsu Oshima's answers to the questionnaire are below. 'Urma' (Miura Creative) November 2008 (No.128). 10th anniversary special issue. 'Sanshin life'p.33.
(Answers: Yasukatsu Oshima. Translation: John and Midori Potter).
Question: Please recommend four Okinawan traditional music CDs, together with your reasons.
1. Rinsho Kadekaru Tokushu . Rinsho Kadekaru. 1990. Marufuku Records/ACD-8.
This was recorded when Kadekaru was at his peak, and it includes some songs which he performs especially well such as Shirakumu Bushi and Sagechijuya. It is a wonderful album with a very good choice of songs in which Kadekaru's singing can really be enjoyed.
2. Churabiki . Seijin Noborikawa. 1991. Victor Entertainment/VICG-5164.
The first time I heard this album I was really surprised. There is frighteningly fast playing, natural rhythm, the sound of stability. The one and only Noborikawa at his highest level. The master Seigwa is really great.
3. Okinawa Ongaku Soran . (1st and 2nd volumes).Haruo Misumi (compiler). 2007. Columbia Music Entertainment/COCJ-34505-12, COCJ-34513-20.
Haruo Misumi, who is head of the Performing Arts Academy and a researcher of the performing arts, compiled these 16 CDs. In 1963 Misumi and others visited the Okinawa, Miyako and Yaeyama islands to record songs, the spoken word and the performing arts in many places. I have enormous appreciation for the fact that they have recorded so many of these sounds 45 years ago.
4. Sarabanjidemunu 35-sai . Masaharu Tamae. 2004. Agarikata Studio/TM-006.
The classical musician Masaharu Tamae made these recordings about nine or ten years after returning from the war. People in the neighbourhood copied these tapes for each other to enjoy. Finally the tapes were made into a CD . This CD made me feel nostalgic and I could also sense the atmosphere of the island people of those times for whom music was a reason for living, even under the harsh circumstances which still existed. I was brought up surrounded by music and people like that.
Q: How did you discover Okinawan traditional music?
A: In the environment of Shiraho, Ishigaki, where I was born and brought up, I had a relationship with Okinawan music through my family, people from the island, and through events and festivals. I think almost all of my senses were cultivated through island life and the performing arts .
Q: What is the attractiveness of Okinawan traditional music?
A: For a very long time Okinawan music has been a way of expressing daily life and the subtleties of human nature. It tells us of the importance of history. At the same time it is still a living thing as a means of expression and it provides us with a rich link to modern times.
Photo: 'Urma' (November 2008) Front cover. Rinsho Kadekaru.
November 04, 2008 Press, Magazines, Books