Compared to the luxury resorts of the Maldives or the exotic Bali, our neighbors, Japan and South Korea, Okinawa and Jeju are a natural close. Their seas, hills and towns exude a small and fresh tone, and people’s lives are simple and leisurely, but they maintain the order, cleanliness and security that economically developed countries should have.
With the relaxation of visa conditions in recent years and the large number of low-cost airlines sailing, we can easily come to these two islands, spend a leisurely holiday, enjoy the blue sky and blue sky, experience Japanese and Korean culture, explore the unique local culture and customs; before returning home, By the way, I can go to the major duty-free shops to smash a Japanese and Korean product that has been “planting grass” for a long time.
New Year event held in Okinawa Shuri Castle
In May, the sea breeze in the early summer was as silky as it was, and the clouds in the sky began to turn from light to rich. In a blink of an eye, I have come to Okinawa to do a cultural anthropology field investigation for 2 years.
My doctoral project is “the inheritance of Okinawa’s traditional music in the city.” The daily investigation of the field is carrying my “Okinawa three-line”, riding a bicycle, traveling through the streets of Naha City – sometimes over the Seri Lee Mountain, sometimes Follow the coastline to participate in Okinawa music-related activities. Every time a friend visits, I will lead them to a “card” on the outlying island that I have never been to.
There are three large island groups in Okinawa Prefecture from north to south, namely Okinawa, Miyako Islands and Yaeyama Islands. If you are an island lover like me, and have some time to freedom, you will surely linger on discovering the unique charm of each island.
I saw the clearest water in the world on the island of Okinawa, not far from the west of Okinawa. It is like a piece of clear glass with emeralds attached to a golden sand beach. There are not many tourists, rent a sun umbrella, a pair of snorkeling glasses and life jackets, you can always go to see the colorful corals and fish, or you can come back to sleep a lazy afternoon.
In addition, the bamboo island of Yaeyama Islands is also impressive. The entire island is small, and the village in the center completely preserves the shape of the ancient village: red tiles, low-lying, low-walled walls made up of coral stones, village roads paved with white fine sand, and occasionally overloaded with tourists’ buffalo cars. Different from the common “folk culture village”, the villagers in this village live in “normal” places, and there are post offices and schools in the local area. In addition to working in shops, B&Bs and restaurants, the villagers will also go outside the village to grow sugar cane, rice, vegetables and pineapples. At the end of the year, they will practice traditional songs and dances, so that they can successfully perform at the Grand Seed Festival.
In contrast, the terrain of Jeju Island will be simpler: a flat goose egg shape with towering Halla Mountain in the middle, Jeju City and Seogwipo City in the north and south coast, and a world natural heritage on the east coast. Chengshan Sunrise Peak.” The sun is flowing on the lush green grassland. In the thin mist, two or three ponies sway their tails and eat grass. Watching a team of tourists from all corners of the country climb a volcano that stands out from the sea.
On the top of Halla Mountain, there is a ring-shaped crater with a diameter of 600 meters. If you look at the sky, it seems like a huge oyster is playing in the water. On the east, west and south sides of the sea, there are sporadic small islands scattered around the island. You can see the cattle islands of wild rapeseed, and there is a high-margin wave of Gapo Island, which can eat the margarine noodles. Island, there is the Yellow Lion Fish Food Festival in Zhangzi Island.
At the same time, Jeju Island is also the location for many Korean dramas and Korean variety shows: Niushima is the place where “The Mermaid Princess” and “Untouchable Lovers” were filmed; the lighthouse on the East Coast was “My Girl” and “Winter Sonata” The location of “Full House”; Halla Mountain is the cave of the “Da Jang Geum” in the long-term care of the wounded, and the place where the men and women in the rain are confessed in “My name is Jin Sanshun”; the Southern Teddy Bear Museum has taken the “Palace” “All in” “Flower Man” was filmed at several resort hotels in Jeju; “Where is Dad?” “Yin Canteen” and “Superman is back” and other popular Korean variety shows have come to Jeju Island… I believe that I am keen on the Korean drama. The Korean drama fans are busy.
Looking for ancient exploration
If you are tired of beach walks, water sports, visiting aquariums, tasting seafood and other activities on the island, Okinawa and Jeju have a deep history and cultural heritage waiting for you to dig. These two places have similar historical situations. They have all served as independent kingdoms, and they have survived in the cracks of China, Japan, and North Korea, thus nurturing a unique culture.
As we all know, Okinawa was the ancient kingdom of Ryukyu. Zhongshan Wang Shangba Zhi unified the tribal countries in 1429 and officially established the Ryukyu Kingdom. Ryukyu made a tribute to the Ming Dynasty, and traded as the foundation of the country. At the same time, many scholars and artisans were invited from Fujian to learn Chinese culture and technology.
In 1609, the invasion of the Satsuma Island in Japan forced the Ryukyu to surrender, and China changed to the Qing Dynasty. Since then, Ryukyu has entered the era of Qing and Edo. Although the trade income was largely seized by Japan and the economy began to be stretched, the Ryukyu people advocated thrift and development of agriculture. The aristocratic children and officials must also study the literature and art of China and Japan, which further stimulated and developed the Ryukyu culture. Until 1879, after the Meiji Restoration, Japan set up Okinawa Prefecture in the process of demobilizing the county, and incorporated it into its own territory, ending the 450-year history of the Ryukyu Kingdom.
To experience the ancient customs of the Ryukyu Kingdom, you can go to the Shuri Castle and the Yoshitani Village in Naha City.
At the top of Shouli Mountain, Shuri Castle is a fortress-type palace that combines the characteristics of traditional Chinese and Japanese architecture. Its wooden building was destroyed in World War II and rebuilt in 1992. Stepping up the stone steps, it is reminiscent of the Potala Palace in Lhasa. Standing in the Imperial Garden of Shuri Castle overlooking Naha Port, you can imagine that the former Ryukyu King was watching the tribute ship returning with the wind. At the end of October each year, the “Ryukyu Dynasty Festival” will be held here to reproduce the ceremonial ceremonies of the Ryukyu King and the scene of the Ryukyu King going to the temple to worship the heavens.
“The Kingdom of Ryukyu Wind Experience Kingdom” was originally built for the shooting of the big river drama “The Wind of Ryukyu”, and restored the important buildings of the Ryukyu, such as the “Angkor Pavilion” where the dwellings lived, and the “Kumemi Village” where the descendants of Fujian people lived. One can imagine the lives and stories of people at the time.
There was also a kingdom in Jeju in ancient times called “Jiro.” Legend has it that at the beginning of the day, the three gods of Gao Yi, Liang Yi, and Fu Yi came to the uninhabited islands. They respectively married the three princesses of the Bilang Kingdom of the East China Sea, reproduced the descendants of the descendants, and established the Jurassic State. With the changes in the political situation on the Korean Peninsula, from 476 AD, Miluo has tribute to Baekje, Silla, and Goryeo and became a dependent country. The ruler of the King of Silla is the “star owner”. It was not until 1404 that the Korean dynasty that replaced Korea was ordered to abolish the star owner. In 1406, Jeju was established, and Jurassic ended its millennium history.
Experience the Kingdom of the Kingdom of Jurassic. In addition to visiting the three surnames of the three ancestors, the Jeju Museum and the Jeju Folk Village, you can also participate in the annual “Mulberry Culture Festival” in mid-October to watch many traditional performances.
In addition, in the east of Jeju City, there is a small village called Chaotianli. On the high ground of the village north of the village stands a pavilion called “Love North Pavilion”. This is an important port connecting Jeju Island during the Joseon Dynasty and a place where the failed execution officials in the party struggle went to the island. In the Joseon Dynasty, Jeju was long used as a place for rogue officials.
Have they ever looked in the direction of Hanyang in the north, and hope to return to the church one day? Of course, these intellectuals who were once in the central position objectively promoted the development of local Confucianism and culture and art in Jeju, and gave birth to calligraphy like Kim Jong-ho (No. “Autumn History”). Visiting the site of the autumn history of the southwestern coast, you can see the history of these scholars who have been studying and learning in the frustration.
Ryukyu Village on Okinawa once again presents an ancient Ryukyu culture
In ancient Ryukyu, women are considered to be spiritually active, and the priesthood is held by women, called goddess or daughters.
The god of the Okinawa people’s faith, the first is the goddess of the creation of Amo Miku, legend that she landed from Jiu Gao Island and created the creatures of the Ryukyu Islands. The ceremony of ceremonial ceremonies was held by the highest goddess of the Ryukyu Palace, “The King of the Kings,” and was held in the “Saichang Yuyue” in the southern part of Okinawa. There are no artificial buildings here, and the place to pray is a few huge rocks in the depths of the lush forests, where the spiritual power of the Holy Land gathers. To this day, every year, there are descendants of goddesses to hold rituals, and tourists will be banned from entering.
The second type is the visiting god on the other side of the sea. It is said that there is a fertile land on the other side of the sea, called the Dragon Palace, living in an oriental lord. After death, the soul will cross the Dragon Palace and become the patron saint of its flesh. To experience the Dragon Palace faith, you can go to the Dragon Boat Festival at the Dragon Boat Festival in Okinawa. Although the form of the dragon boat originated from China, the difference is that it usually starts from the coast and goes to the sea to greet the god of the Huilong Palace. Then the goddesses waiting on the shore report the village’s status and pray for harvest and smoothly.
The third category is the gods involved in all aspects of life, as well as objects that people often worship in their daily lives, such as Vulcan, Water God, House God, Floor God, Gate Pillar God, and even the toilet god.
The last category is the ancestral spirit. The Okinawa people have the custom of worshipping the ancestors on the Lunar New Year, the Ching Ming Festival, and the Bon Festival. Now, these festivals are also a rare day for the big family to meet. People will drink a glass of wine and eat food in front of the ancestors’ tombs or in front of the spirits. They will talk about the shortness of the parents, and they will come and dance.
In ancient Jurassic, the belief of all things is also popular. The local witch songs mention “18,000 gods”, such as the Hana Mountain gods in the forests and grasslands, the hunting gods, the animal husbandry, the dragon kings in the sea, and the ancient The patron saint of the village in the tree, the god in front of the entrance to the house, the king of the stove in the kitchen, the seven-star zombie in the grain bank. There are two kinds of sacrificial activities: “the burnt offering” and “the temple offering”. The “Just offering” is a village sacrifice that is attended by men and held in accordance with Confucianism. The “tang festival” is a feasting activity based on women.
Similar to Okinawa’s “Yuyue”, the form of “Tang” is often old trees and boulders. According to the purpose of each ceremony, the witches will present different sacrifices in front of the church, perform “souvenirs” songs and dances, recruit the corresponding gods, express their desires for help, construction safety, drive out evil spirits, and bless health. Send it to God to send it away.
Although the ceremonies are deeply rooted in the life of Jeju people, they have long been suppressed by the Korean Confucian scholars because of their shamanistic nature. In the modern era, in the “new life movement” that broke the superstition, the drums used by the witches for performances were also collected. Until the 1980s, Korean talents gradually attached importance to this folk belief activity from the perspective of protecting traditional culture.
Ryukyu Village on Okinawa once again presents an ancient Ryukyu culture
In 2009, “Jizhou Qitoutang Lingdeng Festival” was included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. If you want to experience the atmosphere of Jeju folk witch beliefs, you can go to Jeju Island on February 14th of the lunar calendar to watch this festival.
In addition, there are many historical and cultural similarities between Okinawa and Jeju. For example, the difference between the local dialect and the central standard language, the importance of family and hearty islanders, there have been vigorous civil movements and sad historical memories ( Collective self-determination and the event of the 4th and 3rd, etc., are worthy of savoring.
Knowing its history, exploring its traces, and feeling the cultural life of the locals, the two islands began to live in their hearts. Facing the local islanders, it is no longer just the external vision of the good deeds, but with an understanding like a distant relative, the mind will be a little wider, I think this is the meaning of travel.