Okinawa Cultural Workshops


Conference participants were able to choose from one of the five workshops offered on Wednesday, September 17th 11:00 am – 12:30 pm.

*Limited space available for each workshop. Participation for the workshop will be first-come, first-served basis.


Workshop 1 - Shisa Face Pottery Making

Maximum number of participants: 40

Shisa FaceIn this workshop, you will learn how to make Shisa face with clay. Shisa is a mythical animal that protects people from evil, and many people in Okinawa put a pair of Shisa pottery on the entrance gate or the rooftop of a house as guardians. The face of your original Shisa can be fierce (more traditional), funny, or cute; so let loose your creativity!

Your work will be sent to you upon request (with baking and shipping fee).  


Workshop 2 - Okinawan-style Tea Ceremony (Buku-buku cha)

Maximum number of participants: 50

Tea ceremony 1 Tea ceremony 2In this workshop, you will learn how to make Okinawan traditional tea “Buku-buku cha”. Buku-buku” means bubbly in Japanese and refers to the white form made by brisking up the mixture of roasted rice tea and jasmine tea. It used to be served when the Ryukyu (Okinawan) court welcomed delegations from China. Since the white form represents the bubble that a ship makes when it sails the peaceful ocean, buku-buku cha also used to be served at upper-class households before the departure of family members to a sea voyage. We hope you will enjoy the taste of the tea and wish you safe trip home! 


Workshop 3 - Okinawan-style Kimono Wearing

Maximum number of participants: 40

KimonoIn this workshop, you will learn how to wear Okinawan traditional kimono, namely Bingata (see the photo on the right in Buku-buku cha description) and Kunji. Bingata, which used to be worn by royal and upper-class people in the past, is characterized with its vivid colors and its various dyeing methods Okinawa adopted from other Asian cultures including China, India and Indonesia among others. Meanwhile Kunji, which used to be worn by commoners, is made of Indigo-dyed woven cloth. Unlike Japanese kimono, both kimonos are not tightly worn to make it suitable for the warm weather in Okinawa.

Please bring your own camera for those who wish to take souvenir photos!


Workshop 4 - Okinawan-style Spontaneous Dance (kacha-si-)

Maximum number of participants: 80

Okinawan danceIn this workshop, you will learn Okinawan-style spontaneous dance kacha-si-. The name kacha-si- (derived from an Okinawan word “kacha-sun” or to stir), is characterized by its hand (wrist) movements. In Okinawa, most ceremonies like weddings or longevity cerebrations conclude with kacha-si-, where everyone is invited to dance with a fast-paced sanshin (Okinawan three-string instrument) music. It is a joyous dance through which Okinawan people express their emotions. It will be a perfect preparation for the farewell/aloha banquet!    


Workshop 5 - Okinawan Three-String Instrument (Sanshin)

Maximum number of participants: 30

SanshinIn this workshop, you will learn how to play the sanshin, a traditional Okinawan three-string instrument. Sanshin was introduced from China around the 14th century, and developed into its current form with the support from the Ryukyuan court. Sanshin is essential part of the Okinawan music; whether the refined classical court music or the lively folk music, the sound of sanshin still attracts many people in present-day Okinawa and beyond. Everyone is welcome to join the workshop; it will be a great opportunity to find both the uniqueness of Okinawan music and the commonality with other music traditions!


Image credits: 

Shisa face pottery making sample work 1,

Okinawan-style tea ceremony (buku-buku cha) (left) Buku-buku cha utensils. (right) making buku-buku cha,

Okinawan-style kimono wearing, Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts,

Okinawan-style spontaneous dance (kacha-shi-),

Okinawan three-strings instrument (Sanshin), Collection of Museo Azzarini, Universidad Nacional de La Plata/Wikimedia Commons

Disclaimer:  This document claims no credit for any images used. Images on this document are copyright to its respectful owners and the person/entity who created the photos.



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