Obon Season in Okinawa

A Japan Update article on 5 August 2014, “Flight Reservations for Okinawa Obon Season Surpass 520,000,” drives home the extent of the dispersion of Okinawans throughout mainland Japan. Obon is the season when Japanese return to their hometowns for family reunions to honor their ancestors. The half-a-million who return to Okinawa is equal to a third of the prefecture’s population of 1.4 million.

Other sources:

Benjamin Martin’s “Okinawan Obon (Kyubon)” (More Things Japanese, 8/29/12): “Every family is different, but from what I’ve been told, each family makes offerings at their family butsudan (small shrine inside a home) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner of each day of Kyubon.  The butsudan is decorated with offerings of fruit and sake, and other foods are placed before the shrine.”

Obon Brings Ancestors Back to Okinawa Homes” (Japan Update, 8/19/13): “Obon is a time of celebration, and Okinawa’s second unique custom, Eisa, is performed in streets everywhere. Eisa is a traditional dance. Obon is a time of gift-giving, and a time for sharing. Children and grandchildren return from mainland Japan to Okinawa to pay homage to the ancestors. It’s a time for Ochugen, the presenting of gifts to relatives and bosses and colleagues in the workplace.”

Wikipedia: “Bon dance will look and sound different from region to region. Hokkaidō is known for a folk-song known as ‘Soran Bushi.’ The song ‘Tokyo Ondo’ takes its namesake from the capital of Japan. ‘Gujo Odori’ in Gujō, Gifu prefecture is famous for all night dancing. ‘Gōshū Ondo’ is a folk song from Shiga prefecture. Residents of the Kansai area will recognize the famous ‘Kawachi ondo.’ Tokushima in Shikoku is very famous for its ‘Awa Odori,’ or ‘fool’s dance,’ and in the far south, one can hear the ‘Ohara Bushi’ of Kagoshima….The Bon dance performed in the Okinawa Islands is known as eisā. Similarly, the Yaeyama Islands have Angama.”

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