Tamagusuku Ryu Senju Kai Okinawa
Founders Yoshiko Tanita Sensei
and Mieko Kinjo Sensei
Growing and expanding under the nurturing care of its directors, Yoshiko Tanita Sensei and Mieko Kinjo Sensei, the Tamagusuku Ryu Senju Kai dance academy has flourished in Okinawa.
The Ryukyuan dance academy has training centers located around the world, including locations in Hawaii, Los Angeles, Brazil, Nagoya and Osaka. In 1945, the directors, who are also sisters, began learning to dance at the community’s assigned World War II evacuation location in Taiwan. Their mother, noticing that the siblings showed natural talent in entertaining—determined to help them excel in the pursuit of their dancing careers. Upon returning to Okinawa in 1950, both sisters began formal training under the tutelage of Tamagusuku Seigi Sensei, who is well-known for his Okinawan dance style. Seigi Sensei is related to the Tamagusuku Chokun, who was responsible for the ministry of royal entertainment during the Ryukyuan Kingdom.
In 1961, the sisters established their dojo (training center) in Kainan, located in Naha City, and then followed that by officially opening their Senju Kai dance academy in 1976. Since that time, the pair have presented Ryukyuan Dance in numerous places throughout Japan, as well as locations internationally, including the United States, Southeast Asia, South America and Europe.
The master sensei have also been judging the prestigious annual competition called Konkuru, sponsored by Ryukyu Shimpo Newspaper Company in Okinawa. Many of the Okinawan dance schools–representing many different dance styles–participate in this competition, which establishes the level and rank of their dance.
Tanita Sensei and Kinjo Sensei have received countless awards and recognition by both the Okinawa prefecture and the Japan Government for their efforts in perpetuating and promoting the traditional performing arts of Okinawa.
Just a few of these accolades include in 1993, when the pair received the Performing Arts Award from the National Cultural Department. Also, in 1998, the sisters were presented with the Special Judges' Award at the Nagoya Citizens Performing Arts Festival. In addition, both founders are designated by the Okinawan Prefecture as intangible cultural assets in the field of performing arts, as well as having been certified as the Preservers of Important Intangible Cultural Properties (also known as Juyo Mukei Bunkazai Hojisha).
Yoshiko Tanita Sensei has her dance studio in Oroku, Okinawa, and Mieko Kinjo Sensei’s is located in Nagoya, Japan. It is here in Japan, and abroad, that these master sensei have been dedicating their lives to teaching and perpetuating the Ryukuyan performing arts.