Apr 20, 2011

"Umaku", a naughty boy, Seigua(誠小), his songs and life

Yesterday, while I waited for my wife cooking dinner, I was watching TV humming the Okinawan folk song "Hiyamichika Bushi". She told me that you had been listening to Seigua's songs on your way back home. She's right. I was listening Seigua's CD "Howling Wolf". I might sing his song out in a subway.

In this weekend I have read Seijin Noborikawa's (登川誠仁) biography "Singing Okinawa(オキナワをうたう)", which my wife had bought. Seijin Noborikawa is one of the famous Okinawan folk singer called Seigua. I really wanted to listen to his songs.

Seigua was born in 1932 and grown up in Okinawa. People like Seigua, who experienced the ages of the War, occupation of US army (America Yu アメリカ世), and reintegration into Japan, had severe their own histories. They couldn't survive without such histories. Seigua told that he was "Umaku", a naughty boy in Okinawan dialect. He is such a person, but children couldn't live in Okinawa at that age, if they were not "Umaku", a naughty boy.

I'll quote his experience of the War from "Singing Okinawa(オキナワをうたう)" as follows.

Yomitan is the quite dangerous place where US army landed first. There were full of battle ships off shore of Yomitan, and Kamikaze fighters flew to these battle ships.

While we were in Yomitan for a few days, Kamikaze fighters flew in the evening.

Since I felt cooler, it might be April just after US army landed. I remembered that I wore only a long padded coat and shorts without shoes.

I heard the noise of Kamikaze fighters. At that time grandpas and grandmas told loudly young men to get up on the roof.

"Kamikaze pilots will die, so wave your hands to them!"

Many Okinawan boys were waving their hands on the roof. We waved a piece of cloth to see them off.

Kamikaze fighters flew very low to avoid US army's antiaircraft guns. We could see faces of Kamikaze pilots clearly.

Some pilot was smiling, and another pilot was waving his hand. There were great fleets of US navy under them.

We could only shout "Go for it!"

After Kamikaze fighters flew over us, they jumped into huge battle ships over there. They looked like flies. Very small Kamikaze fighters, which looked just like black spots in the clear blue sky, struck battle ships with a lot of bullets and shells, and huge explosion happened. And then another pillar of fire was on the battle ship next to it. And then.

After the end of the War, he got into US army's camp as a houseboy, and made friends with many Afro American solders. They sung a song at a party, he also sung together with a handmade Sanshin, a traditional Okinawan instrument. He said that he sung in a low and husky voice, because he might be influenced by the Afro African way of singing and talking. I wrote about his experience on this weblog.

He got into US army's camp not only to work as a houseboy but also to steal US army's commodities. At that time Okinawan people called stolen commodities "military results (戦果)". It might be quite hard to survive in Okinawa after the War. I'm impressed that his toughness to talk about such sever episodes happily.

His "Umaku (naughty)" life continued after that. He really devoted himself to song, and he was confident that he was the best Okinawan singer. He didn't sing a song as a "traditional art", but have been creating "living Okinawan songs". He talked about this with good humor as follows.

Recently somebody calls me "the Okinawan Jimi Hendrix", but I don't know the rock singer "Jimi Hendrix" at all. It's sure I came over by quick playing the Sanshin much earlier than Jimi Hendrix by quick playing the guitar.

Bravo Seigua! You are not "the Okinawan Jimi Hendrix" but "the Seigua"!

His songs are soulful and moved. I don't know if his "Umaku (naughty)" life gives his songs soul or he is just good at singing.

I sing with Seigua's songs, "Hiya hiya hiya hiya hiya hiyamikachi ukiri hiyamikati ukiri" in the Okinawan dialect.

"Hiyamikachi bushi"「ヒヤミチカ節」

We fall down seven times, and stand up quickly.
七転び転び ヒヤミカチ起きてぃ
We make our Okinawa be known all over the world
我した此ぬ沖縄 世界に知らさ 世界に知らさ

Hiya hiya hiya hiya hiya
ヒヤ ヒヤ ヒヤ ヒヤ ヒヤ
Hiyamikachi ukiri, hiyamikachi ukiri
ヒヤミカチウキリ ヒヤミカチウキリ

The beauty of blooming followers and harmonizing music.
花や咲ち美らさ 学やない美らさ
Let's play our music to all over the world
ちかさな世界に 学ぬてぃなみ 学ぬてぃなみ

We are tigers, and give us wings.
我んや虎でむぬ 羽ちきてぃたぼり
Let's go over the huge Pacific.
波路パシヒック 渡てぃなゃびら 渡てぃなゃびら

Take Kyan and Kunzyan up.
ちゃんとくんじゃんぬ まさちとぅぃあぎで
Let's tell the beauty of Okinawa to all over the world.
沖縄あん てぃあぃ 世界に知らさ 世界に知らさ

Our Okinawa is a treasure island.
我した此ぬ沖縄 宝島でむね
Unite our hearts and let's stand up.
心うち合わち う立みそり う立みそり

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