Okinawa Zento Eisa Matsuri 2023
The 68th Okinawa Zento Eisa Festival 2023 will be held!
*The dates are set for September 8-10, 2023 (Fri.-Sun.). For the first time in four years, "Michijune" (eisa parade) will also be held on September 8!
Click here for information for [9/9-9/10] The 68th Okinawa Zento Eisa Festival 2023 (middle and final day) @ Koza Sports Park Athletic Field, Okinawa City.
"Eisa Night 2023" will also be held.The "Eisa Night 2023" schedule and information on the performing groups.
The History of Okinawa Zento Eisa Festival
"Okinawa Zento Eisa Matsuri" was held in 1956 as "Eisa Contest in Koza City." (Okinawa City was formed after the merger of Koza City and Misato Village.) After the war, Koza City was developed as a commercial city in the midst of a base-dependent economy, but "Off Limits" (Prohibition for military personnel and their families of going out to local people living areas) ordinance by the U.S. government inflicted a great damage on merchants and craftsmen in the city. When the local people were depressed and losing their hopes, they remembered eisa has been a symbol of postwar recovery, which was actively performed in Koza City. Then, they encouraged themselves, "Let's cheer ourselves up by eisa!" That's how the "Eisa Contest" started. The first contest had 9 participating groups selected from all Okinawa and attracted 30,000 spectators. Participating groups were judged by a certain screening criteria such as formation, technique, the number of performers, costumes, etc. They competed with each other by using their ingenuity to express their individuality. Since then, eisa in each shima community has been changed gradually into "attracting" eisa and has become the original pattern of costumes of the modern eisa and formations at festivals. However, they saw the limit of determining prize winners because aesthetic values of eisa varied from region to region. Some youth associations started showing their dissatisfaction at the judge's results. The contest was abolished and in 1977 the 22nd event was held as the "Okinawa Zento Eisa Matsuri." Nowadays the event is held for 3 days. On the first day each youth association performs "michijune" to dance along the central area of Okinawa City. On the second day the "Okinawa City Youth Festival" is held by youth associations in Okinawa City. On the final day an array of Eisa dances selected from everywhere in Okinawa are performed. The "Okinawa Zento Eisa Matsuri " has developed to be the biggest eisa festival in Okinawa, boasting a total of 300, 000 spectators for 3 days. For an annual finale, all the spectators at the venue become one. Please fully enjoy an Okinawan hot summer with a closing fireworks display. (Source: "Eisa 360 Degrees")