SOAS University of London

Japan Research Centre

Drumming out a Message: Eisa and the Okinawan Diaspora in Japan

Professor Terada Yoshitaka

Date: 22 February 2014Time: 3:00 PM

Finishes: 22 February 2014Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Khalili Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Film

Film Screening followed by Q&A with Professor Terada Yoshitaka

Film Abstract

Drumming out a Message: Eisa and the Okinawan Diaspora in Japan (2005; 75mins) - Japanese with English Subtitles

The film explores the relationship between the experience of displacement and the construction of identity for Okinawans living in mainland Japan. Eisa is a form of dance performed in Okinawa during the summer ancestral festival, but when a tradition of performing eisa was newly established in Osaka in 1975, it was for completely different purposes. Young Okinawan workers, struggling to construct a positive identity in their geographical and cultural displacement, found in eisa a much needed outlet for self-expression that was suppressed in the presence of the mainland Japanese. The film tries to capture the voices of these young migrant workers from Okinawa and second-generation Okinawans who, through eisa, act on the derogatory images in mainstream culture, and at the same time transform themselves into individuals more resistant to the adversity created by such images.

A  “live” performance of Okinawan Eisā dance will be held in the KLT foyer from about 2.40pm on the 22 February. Contact David Hughes for further information.


Free and open to all; no booking required

Angry Drummers: A Taiko Group from Osaka, Japan on 18 February 2014 at 7pm.  

Organiser: Centres & Programmes Office

Contact email:

Contact Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4893