Wednesday, May 25, 2022 |
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HANAPEPE — Alton Miyamoto does not know when the name “Koi Boys” was applied.
“I am not sure who gave us the name Koi Boys,” Miyamoto said in an email, “but it wasn’t the guys. This year, we want people to know we are the Men of the Koi Dynasty.”
Miyamoto of the West Kaua‘i Hongwanji said the Men of the Koi Dynasty will be debuting two new dances during the intermission of the bon dance at the West Kaua‘i Hongwanji Hanapepe temple this weekend.
Bon dance format usually starts out at 7:30 p.m. with a series of pre-recorded music, followed by the iwakuni ondo in which a singer climbs the yagura, a wooden structure located in the center of the dance ring, and sings while accompanied by taiko performers. Intermission follows this phase and usually happens around 9 p.m.
Miyamoto, a sansei, or third generation Japanese, was troubled when he noticed men of the nissei, or second generation, participated in the bon dance, while the younger generation of sansei and yonsei, or fourth generation, did not.
He had a vision of getting these men together, teaching and encouraging them so they would get a new understanding of their culture, which includes the birth of bon dance in Hawai‘i hosted by plantation Buddhist churches, which sprouted with the arrival of the Japanese laborers more than a century ago.
Starting with just a dozen men — eight from the West Kaua‘i Hongwanji and four from the Lihu‘e Hongwanji — Miyamoto asked Aiko Nakaya, considered a Japanese dance leader, to teach the sansei men.
Miyamoto said this year, the West Kaua‘i Hongwanji hosted bon dance practice to anyone with little, or no experience, the practice attracting more than 60 men and women, who will enter the ring this weekend.
“We continue to wear the happi emblazoned with a large colorful koi, or carp,” Miyamoto said. “Our group continues to be diverse and our bon continues to be the joy of dancing with gratitude in our hearts and mind for our ancestors and friends who have made it possible for us to live as we do today.”
Miyamoto said the Men of the Koi Dynasty will also be performing at the Lihu‘e Hongwanji bon dance and at the West Kaua‘i Hongwanji Waimea temple.
The bon dance starts at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at the West Kaua‘i Hongwanji Hanapepe temple located on Kaumuali‘i Highway adjacent to the Hanapepe Public Library.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.
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