On October 23rd 2016 the Okinawan karate community attempted to break the record for the most people performing a kata. The record had been set in India in 2013 with 809 people. The Okinawan attempt on the record was a resounding success with 3793 confirmed participants. There was also a one of the biggest congregations of karate masters. I have photographed most of them for the Karate Masters Portrait Project so it was great to be able to say hello to so many of them. 2017 will have the opening of the Okinawa Karate Kaikan (training center), and with karate a demonstration sport at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, I expect that a mass kata performance may even become an annual event. If so, hopefully next year will be even bigger!
Now that the Karate Masters book is completed and on sale I have time to catch up on things on my to-do list. Here’s a scan of my Kokusai Street feature from last month’s Silkroad, the magazine of Dragonair.
I went down to Naha on Sunday to check out the 10,000 person eisa dance. Surprisingly, the festival begins around 1pm, which unsurprisingly means it was oppressively hot and humid. Parents and leaders of the various groups were trying to keep all the little kids cool with wet towels and drinks but most were looking pretty weary. I pottered around for an hour, met up with some friends, then slunk off to find somewhere cool. This particular Englishman (and his mad dog) have learned to stay out of the midday sun.