Okinawan Plays-English


If you ever visit Okinawa, you may try to take photos of the breathtaking clear emerald green sea.

The wonderful rich nature of Okinawa, where lots of endangered flora and fauna such as Okinawa rails and Iriomote wild cats live, was regarded as a World Natural Heritage Site by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, in July 2021, as “Amami Oshima, Tokunoshima and Iriomote, and the Yanbaru Region”, and is highly evaluated around the world.

In fact, it is not only the great nature that is highly evaluated with Okinawa.

We also have rich culture, such as Kumi Odori, a narrative traditional Ryukyuan dance which is registered as Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, as well as Ryukyuan cuisine and Awamori (rice wine) that have handed down for generations and were designated as Japanese Heritage in 2019FY.
Adding above, Okinawa is well-known as the birthplace of Karate, one of the most popular martial arts all over the world, and has made its Olympic debut in Tokyo 2020.
Thus, Okinawan performing arts and martial arts have developed and handed down since the Ryukyu Kingdom period and are highly recognized worldwide.

Okinawan Plays

八木政男、伊良波晃、北村三郎、大宜見小太郎OTV「水曜劇場」に出演 / 八木政男氏蔵『大琉球写真帖』より

It is said that Okinawan Plays started being performed by Shizoku, royal entertainers, of the Ryukyu Kingdom as entertainment for the general public after Haihan-chiken, the abortion of clans and the establishment of the prefectural system, occurred in 1879.

In its golden age, so many citizens were gathered to the theater, and there were even a large number of fans waiting in the back door for the popular actors.
When TV sets and movies became common in 1960’s, the number of the audience started to decrease, however, Okinawan Plays have continued to be regularly performed. Even today, actors of Okinawan Plays keep improving their skill to hand it over to future generations.

Kumi Odori was founded as a type of entertainment for Chinese diplomats when they visited Okinawa during the Ryukyu Kingdom period.
People applied its technique to perform for the general public. This performance has been developed to be one of the most famous performing arts – Okinawan Plays.Although Okinawan Plays have a history of over 140 years, it is approachable even for first-timers of Okinawan performing arts, since it was originally founded for common people.


Around four o’clock in the afternoon, they used to beat the drum from the top of the hill in the forest to announce the play was about to start.
In the evenings, so many citizens would gather around the theatre that it would covered the whole forest.

焦土に咲いた花 戦争と沖縄芸能 / 琉球新報社編著

Okinawan Plays are performed in Okinawan language that is originated in this region.Today we have prepared simultaneous English voice guide for you to understand the lines for free. The voice guide will help you understand and enjoy the world of Okinawan Plays of golden ages, and you would feel as if you were one of the citizens watching the play at that time.

Okinawan Plays, which are simple but supported by solid technique, have been inherited for generations from the Ryukyu Kingdom period.

How to use the voice guide

The voice guide is available via the Zoom app from your smartphone. Please scan the QR code that you can find in the venue to connect to the voice guide. We recommend you to use earphone to fully enjoy the play.

We have no guidance for the Zoom app due to the schedule of the venue. Please be informed to download the Zoom app to your smartphone and check how to use it beforehand.

When you are in the venue, just scan the QR code that is displayed on the screen of the stage. The app starts automatically and connects to the voice guide. When you first use the Zoom app, you need to enter the terminal name. If you cannot scan the QR code, start the Zoom app and enter your ID and password to connect to the the voice guide.
When you reach to the voice guide, switch it to sleep mode (locked mode). You can listen to the voice guide with sleep mode (locked mode), as long as the Zoom app is on.
Please refrain from starting other apps or using your smartphone during the play. These may cause battery drain or the Zoom app to stop accidentally. Please note that the QR code is not displayed during the play.

We perform one of highly selected dramas.

Today’s performance is “Bo shibari” which is easy-to-understand Okinawan traditional comedy. “Bo shibari” is an easy-to-understand story with full of humor, and all ladies and gentlemen of all ages couldn’t stop laughing.

According to the result of the survey, 90% of our audience says that they can recommend it.

I saw a Okinawan Play for the first time, and I could see it is authentic, and feel the profoundness of Okinawan performing arts. I suppose that even a tourist coming to Okinawa for the first time would understand how great Okinawan performing arts are. (50s)

It’s been a while since I laughed that hard! It was so much fun! (70s)

I was annoyed from work, but I felt refreshed and laughed the stress away! I am so much proud that I am from Okinawa. (60s)

I was annoyed from work, but I felt refreshed and laughed the stress away! I am so much proud that I am from Okinawa. (60s)

It was awesome from the beginning to the end! (20s)

I was so moved, and laughed so hard I cried. (60s)

I am from Japan main island, and I could see something unique to Okinawa in Okinawan Plays. I suppose that anybody from Japan main island would feel the same. (60s)

I think you should promote it more. (60s)

I would like to see Okinawan Plays more. (60s)

I really enjoyed hands-on event of Okinawan music. (30s)

I want to see it again! (30s)

I think this would be a great opportunity to transmit the expression of Okinawan Plays to the world. (60s)

I hope that people from all over the world would see and enjoy Okinawan Plays, and spread the greatness of Okinawan performing arts and dances throughout the world! (40s)

I hope that Okinawan Plays would be regarded like Japanese Kabuki, and be largely recognized as one of Okinawan culture. I also hope as many people as possible would see it! (40s)

Play summary
The master of an estate has a problem. Every time he goes out, his retainers, named Taree and Sandaa, always drink his hidden sake behind his back. The master comes up with a great idea, and succeeds in tricking them into binding their hands. He feels relieved and goes out for a gathering. Then what happens to retainers left behind?

Tips for enjoying the play


Visiting the museum
Visiting the museum where you can learn about the history and culture of Okinawa beforehand will help you understand Okinawan performing arts, and make it more enjoyable.
*Please note that the ticket price does not include the entrance fee for the museum. Please pay separate fee for the museum.

Phrases in Okinawan language
Here are some phrases in Okinawan language spoken in the play “Bo shibari”. Understanding these words will help you enjoy the play more, and be immersed in its world.

List of things to bring

Face mask

  1. Please wear a face mask while you are in the theater.
  2. For everyone’s safety, masks are required in the facility.

Smartphone and earphone

  1. Smartphone and earphone are required when showing your ticket and using the voice guide.
  2. Photographing of the performance is strictly prohibited.

Smartphone with the Zoom app downloaded

  1. The voice guide is available via the Zoom app.
  2. If the Zoom app is already downloaded in your smartphone, it will start automatically by scanning QR code and connect to the voice guide.
  3. We have no guidance for the Zoom app in the museum. Please note to download the app to your smartphone and check how to use it before the play.
google-play i-os

Today’s contents

1. Hands-on event of Okinawan music (including Okinawan musical instrument experience for limited members) 10 min.
*Okinawan musical instrument experience is unavailable during the Covid-19.
2. Guidance for Okinawan Plays  7 min.
3. The Okinawan Play “Bo shibari”  40 min.

Performance schedule


2022年○月○日 ??:??~??:??



中城若松:△△△ △△△
宿の女:△△△ △△△
座主:△△△ △△△
小僧1:△△△ △△△
小僧2:△△△ △△△
小僧3:△△△ △△△


箏:△△△ △△△
笛:△△△ △△△
胡弓:△△△ △△△
太鼓:△△△ △△△


Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum, Auditorium on the third floor

3-1-1 Omoromachi, Naha-shi, Okinawa


Maximum capacity

212 people for each performance


4300 JPY

How to buy the ticket

An email containing the ticket will be sent to the email address that you registered when you bought it. Please register the correct email address, otherwise you cannot receive the ticket. In case you cannot receive the ticket, please contact us via Ticket Inquiry Form. In case of the barcode cannot be read, you might not be allowed to enter the venue to prevent the unauthorized use of the ticket. Thank you for your understanding.

Infection control measures against covid-19

Please note that if any of the following conditions apply, you are not allowed to enter the venue. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. Please note that we do not refund the ticket for anyone not following our infection control measures, which cause to refuse entry to the venue.

  1. Wearing no face mask
  2. With symptoms include fever, cough, or headache.
  3. Anyone who visited areas or countries where covid-19 is widely spread within 14 days from the day to visit the museum.

Fully equipped with air conditioning system in Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum. There is always fresh air and ventilation.


Do you offer discounted tickets for children?

There is no discounted ticket for children.

Is free WiFi available?

“Be.Okinawa Free Wi-Fi” is available in the museum. But it may be unstable at the auditorium. Please refer to the following leaflet about how to connect to it.


It may be unavailable under conditions such as the connection is weak in certain locations, or when number of access users exceeds the limit.

I understand I can listen to the voice guide from my smartphone. Can I take photos of the play with it?

Photographing of the performance is strictly prohibited.

Can I charge smartphone at the venue?

You cannot charge smartphone at the venue. You cannot charge smartphone at the venue.

Is there any guidance for how to use the Zoom app at the venue?

We have no guidance for the Zoom app. Please note to download the app and check how to use it in beforehand.

It is easy to connect to the voice guide. If the app is already downloaded to your smartphone, what you need to do is just scan the QR code to automatically start the app to connect to the voice guide.

Can I refund my ticket?

However, if the performance is canceled because of unavoidable circumstances, such as a state of emergency is declared by the government, we will refund the ticket.

Please note that we do not refund the ticket for anyone not following our infection control measures, which cause to refuse entry to the venue.

Can I reserve a seat?

All seats are non-reserved, all open-seating.

Can I borrow smartphone and earphone?

No smartphone/earphone are available for lending. Please bring your own smartphone/earphone.


General Incorporated Association Uchinaguchi School