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Okinawan Shaman Songs

Okinawan Shaman Songs C H R I S T O P H E R D R A K E The following are two kinds of traditional songs sung by female shamans in Okinawa. The first is fusa (trance song), sung by sixteen shamans from four shaman lines on the southern Okinawan island of Myäku (Miyako). The song is part of the winter festival that commemorates the island's settlement by communicating--through the original "timeless time" that the song reconstructs--with the first great mothers who founded the settlement. In this fusa, which is part of a cycle of ceremonial songs, the shamans assert a woman's right to control the house she lives in (including its hearth, its songs, its stores, and its economic surplus) even if that right is not recognized by Japanese civil law. Although males pray at the borders of the sanctuary where the song is sung, they are not permitted to take part in the trance or singing. (Only recently has a version of the song been transcribed by male researchers.) The fusa is a difficult song whose subjects seem to be simultaneously singular and plural--though they are translated here as plural--and human and divine. It is said to have http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Manoa University of Hawai'I Press

Okinawan Shaman Songs

Manoa , Volume 23 (1) – Jun 29, 2011

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University of Hawai'I Press
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Abstract

C H R I S T O P H E R D R A K E The following are two kinds of traditional songs sung by female shamans in Okinawa. The first is fusa (trance song), sung by sixteen shamans from four shaman lines on the southern Okinawan island of Myäku (Miyako). The song is part of the winter festival that commemorates the island's settlement by communicating--through the original "timeless time" that the song reconstructs--with the first great mothers who founded the settlement. In this fusa, which is part of a cycle of ceremonial songs, the shamans assert a woman's right to control the house she lives in (including its hearth, its songs, its stores, and its economic surplus) even if that right is not recognized by Japanese civil law. Although males pray at the borders of the sanctuary where the song is sung, they are not permitted to take part in the trance or singing. (Only recently has a version of the song been transcribed by male researchers.) The fusa is a difficult song whose subjects seem to be simultaneously singular and plural--though they are translated here as plural--and human and divine. It is said to have

Journal

ManoaUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jun 29, 2011

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