London Okinawa Day is a yearly festival celebrating the unique music, food, and culture of Japan’s southernmost prefecture. Okinawa is one of a group of islands in Southern Japan that formed part of the historic Ryukyu Kingdom and as such has its own distinct music and traditions. Okinawa Day 2023 will feature traditional music, dance, and food from several islands of the Ryukyu archipelago to highlight its incredibly rich cultural diversity.
Okinawa Day 2023 Event Plan
Organised by London Okinawa Sanshinkai, the event will take place on Saturday 24th June 2023 from 11am to 5pm at The Blue Market, London SE16 3UQ. Entry is free and everyone is welcome.
The event will showcase a rich variety of performances, from elegant Ryukyu Classical Music and energetic sanshin performances of Okinawan Folk Songs, through to Eisa dance performances taught by Sonda Seinenkai (Sonda Youth Association) and Ryukyu Karate demonstrations. also present will be guests from France (Paris Sanshin Club) and musicians from Switzerland and Amami Island in Japan to perform as well.
Food and Goods Stalls
Mingling with the Blue market’s regular traders will be stalls run by the London Okinawa Sanshinkai and other retailers, selling Okinawan Arts & Crafts. cuisine and food products.
Okinawa Day Running Order
11:05 Ryukyuan Classical court music
11:30 London Sanshinkai
12:00 Amami music
12:30 Paris Sanshin Club
13:30 Eisa dancing
13:55 Visit Okinawa
14:15 Eisa Workshop
14:35 Yaeyama music
15:00 Amami music
15:30 London Sanshinkai
16:30 Eisa dancing
How to get there
- Buses: 1, 381, P12
- Underground: Bermondsey Train: South Bermondsey Overground: Canada Water
- Santander dock stations on Southwark Park Road and Clements Road
- Bicycles parking available.
About London Okinawa Sanshinkai
London Okinawa Sanshinkai was formed in 1999 at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) by academics specialising in Ryukyu Classical Music and Yaeyama Folk Songs studies. Since then, the group has been disseminating Okinawan music, dances and culture through a variety of activities and performances not only in the UK but also in other European countries. At the centre of these activities is the annual “Okinawa Day”event. There have been many events in London over the years introducing traditional Okinawan culture most notably, the Rinken Band’s performance in Hyde Park, Sonda Eisa’s performance at the Thames Festival, and recitals by Kise Shinjin(Master of the Nomura School of Ryukyu Classical Music).
In June 2009,London Okinawa Sanshinkai and Okinawa Kenjinkai (The UK Okinawan Association) organised an event called “Okinawa Matsuri” at Café Oto in North East London. The date was chosen in commemoration of Okinawa Memorial Day which is annually observed around 23 June.
Since 2010, the event has been held under its new name “Okinawa Day” with the aim of expressing gratitude to songs and music, referencing the concept of a Day of Song (Uta no hi) by the famous Okinawan band, BEGIN. Moving its location to Spitalfields in East London, the event grew on a bigger scale, attracting an audience of 8000 in June every year. Following a 2-year break due to the pandemic, “Okinawa Day” had a successful second start in September 2022 in a new location; The Blue Market in South London. The Blue Market, built with a unique architectural style focusing on sustainability and community, epitomised by its iconic central clock tower, is the perfect location to host Eisa drumming and dancing performances.
Out of The Blue: Unheard Voices, Different Stories
A series of free activities to explore the diversity of Bermondsey, a historic neighbourhood located just outside the city of London, renowned for its rich industrial heritage and vibrant community. Over the centuries, Bermondsey has attracted people from all walks of life, contributing to its diverse character and becoming a melting pot of cultures. The neighbourhood’s working life has played a pivotal role in shaping its identity, making it an intriguing and dynamic place to live and visit.