Tamagusuku Chōkun

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Tamagusuku Ueekata Chōkun (玉城 親方 朝薫, September 11, 1684 - March 1, 1734), also known by the Chinese-style name Shō Juyū (向 受祐), was a Ryūkyūan aristocrat-bureaucrat credited with the creation of the Ryūkyūan dance-drama form known as kumi odori.

Tamagusuku was born in what is today the Gibo neighborhood of Shuri.[1] A member of the aristocrat-bureaucrat class of the Ryūkyū Kingdom, Tamagusuku had already journeyed to Edo and Kagoshima five times before being named udui bugyō (J: odori bugyō; Magistrate of Dance) in 1715. The title was first held by Tansui Ueekata (湛水親方, 1622-1683), and was a post chiefly responsible for organizing the formal entertainments of the Chinese investiture envoys to Ryukyu.[2]

Having studied and viewed various Japanese dance and drama forms during his trips to Edo and Kagoshima, including Noh, kabuki and kyōgen,[3] after regaining the title of udui bugyô in 1718, Tamagusuku formulated the dance-drama form known as kumi udui in Okinawan, and as kumi odori in Japanese. It was then performed for the first time, before the Chinese investiture envoys, on a chrysanthemum-viewing day, the ninth day of the ninth month of the lunar calendar, the following year.[2]

The two plays performed that day are called Nidō Tichiuchi (The Vendetta of the Two Sons) and Shūshin Kani'iri (Possessed by Love, Thwarted by the Bell).[2]

Though it's presumed that he wrote many more, five plays by Tamagusuku survive today, and are still performed.[3] They are known today as Chōkūun no Goban ("The Chōkun Five Plays") or just Goban ("The Five Plays").[1] The other three are: Mekarushi, Kōkō nu Maki (Filial Piety), and Unna Munu Gurui (The Madwoman).[2]


  1. ^ a b "Tamagusuku Chôkun." Okinawa Konpakuto Jiten (沖縄コンパクト事典, "Okinawa Compact Encyclopedia"). Ryukyu Shimpo. 1 March 2003. Accessed 2 November 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d Foley, Kathy. "Kumi Odori's Historical Context and Performance Practice." in Ryukyu Geino: The Legacy of Kin Ryosho. Jimpu Kai USA Kin Ryosho Ryukyu Geino Kenkyusho Hawaii Shibu, 2008. pp45-56.
  3. ^ a b "Tamagusuku Chôkun." Okinawa rekishi jinmei jiten (沖縄歴史人名事典, "Encyclopedia of People of Okinawan History"). Naha: Okinawa Bunka-sha, 1996. p46.