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“Hoakua: Elevated Perceptions” Unites Traditional Japanese and Hawaiian Music and Dance

“Hoakua: Elevated Perceptions” will be presented by the Edith Kanaka‘ole Foundation on Saturday, July 20, 2013, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s Performing Arts Center.

Hoakua is an evening of dance, music, and spirituality bringing together traditional Japanese and Hawaiian dance in celebration of a common respect for the environment. Tickets are $10.00 each and available for purchase at http://hoakua.eventbrite.com or by calling Leina‘ala Thornton at the Foundation at 808-961-5242. Event seating is general admission and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the performance begins at 6:00 p.m.

Mr. Yoshida, the high priest of the Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine at Kamakura, Japan

Mr. Yoshida, the high priest of the Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine at Kamakura, Japan

The Foundation has invited Mr. Yoshida, the high priest of the Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine at Kamakura, Japan, to Hawai‘i to share environmental kinship through the Shintō religion and Hula. The invitation to Hawai‘i was prompted by Hālau O Kekuhi’s dedication dance in 2008 at the Hachiman Shrine, when the hālau visited Japan for a series of performances.

Hachiman Shrine at Kamakura, Japan

Hachiman Shrine at Kamakura, Japan

While foreigners are typically discouraged from dancing at the shrine’s sacred pavilion, Hālau O Kekuhi was allowed to dedicate their dance. After the dedication, the hālau was invited to lunch to discuss their practices. Both the hālau and the Hachiman people recognized the commonalities at the core of their practices, and decided that it would be “beautiful”—spiritually, educationally, socially, and ecologically—if they introduced the Japanese and the Hawaiian fire deities to one another.

At the hālau’s invitation, Mr. Yoshida and the Gagaku-dan—the ancient court music orchestra and their Miko (maiden) dancers—are visiting Hilo and Hawai‘i Island in July. Their visit will culminate in the presentation of Hoakua in partnership with Hālau O Kekuhi. The Foundation hopes to bring Mr. Yoshida’s retinue of approximately 30 priests and maidens to Kīlauea for further collaboration in 2015.

Halau Kekuhi

Halau Kekuhi

Hoakua is sponsored in part by The Kohala Center, Dr. Tom Blackburn and Dr. Kate Bell of the Deviants from the Norm, The Kahiau Foundation, and Larry Isemoto of Isemoto Contracting Company, Ltd. Sponsorship opportunities are still available by contacting Reiko Yoshida Hamano via e-mail at reikoyoshidahamano@gmail.com.