Okinawa Zento Eisa Matsuri
The Okinawa Zento Eisa Matsuri is held every year over the course of 3 days and boasts numbers of around 300,000 attendees. Eisa is one of Okinawa’s traditional performance arts, done to pay respects to and send off ancestors. There are many roles to be played in Eisa, like playing taiko drums or sanshin (a three-stringed instrument), dancing, and carrying flags, all of which come together and are matched to the music. Among all the roles, one of the coolest to watch is the taiko drumming as they put on a powerful show playing the drums while dynamically dancing about.
There are many Eisa teams, and it’s fun to see the different styles of the performance that each of them take on.
During the performances, you’ll probably see people wearing peculiar makeup who are called “chondara.” The chondara play important roles on the Eisa teams, such as energizing the audience, arranging the costumes and procession lines of the performers, passing out water, and replacing broken items. Because of this, many chondara are veterans of Eisa, who know all the ins and outs of the performances.