Organization and Branch History
Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko literally translates to “Ryukyu Kingdom Festival Drums”. Ryukyu Kingdom is the ancient name for what is presently known as the Okinawa prefecture of Japan. Located just southwest of mainland Japan and northeast of Taiwan, it consists of about fifty islands, of which Okinawa is the largest. Due to its unique location, its culture and traditions have been greatly influenced not only by Japan, but also China, Korea and southeast Asia.
Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko is modeled on the traditional Okinawan obon festival drum dancing called “eisa”. The performers dance and drum simultaneously to an exciting blend of traditional and contemporary Okinawan and Japanese music. The group performs with several types of drums: the odaiko (big drum), which is suspended in front of the body by long pieces of purple cloth over the shoulder and back, the shime-daiko (hand-held, flat, two-sided drum), and the paranku (hand-held, flat, one-sided drum).
The organization was founded in 1982 in Okinawa. It also has chapters in mainland Japan, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, and Hawaii. The Los Angeles chapter was established in 1995, and has performed at such venues as the The Grove, Nisei Week Parade, Taiko Gathering, and Coronation Ball, the Cherry Blossom Festival in Monterey Park, the U.S. Japan Expo, Los Angeles, and the L.A. County Fair.
In 2012, the main branch in Okinawa celebrated their 30th anniversary and in 2015, Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko – Los Angeles Branch was proud to celebrate 20 years of spreading the Okinawan spirit across Southern California. To celebrate this momentous occasion, we held our first ever concert titled, “Uchinaa Chimu Don-Don: Heartbeat of Okinawa” on Saturday, October 17th, 2015 at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center.
Our anniversary concert showcased how the Okinawan spirit can form friendships that overcome the barriers of distance, time, and language. Over the last 20 years, our performances have allowed us to form lifelong friendships with members of the local, national, and international Okinawan communities. These bonds are so strong that many of our friends from overseas and across the nation joined us as guest performers. We hope our audience members also experienced the power of the “Uchinaa Chimu Don-Don” during our anniversary concert.
Main Practice: Sundays from 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Beginner/Advanced: Sundays from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Gardena Dance Studio
1807 West 166th Street
Gardena, CA 90247
Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Branches