Profiles of Ryukyan Music e – Sekko Chinen

Profiles of Giants of the Ryukyuan Music Performing Arts
Sekko Chinen – 1761-1828
Born in feudal Ryukyu, May 5th, 1761 to a family of the farming class in Tobaru, Shuri, Young Sekko’s first ambition was to become a medical doctor. The fact that he was not of a samurai or noble home created (at the time), an insurmountable barrier toward his dream.

Profiles of Giants of the Ryukyuan Music Performing Arts
Sekko Chinen – 1761-1828
Born in feudal Ryukyu, May 5th, 1761 to a family of the farming class in Tobaru, Shuri, Young Sekko’s first ambition was to become a medical doctor. The fact that he was not of a samurai or noble home created (at the time), an insurmountable barrier toward his dream. He instead began learning uta-sanshin from Chouten Toyohara (a student of Chouki Yakabi) He was also instructed by Okuhira Chousho in the specialization of Jiyute (singing and playing to accompany Classical Dancers). During this training, it is even said that he would load himself up with a load of firewood in modern day Yonabaru village and carry it all the way to the top of Shuri hill, singing the whole way.
In the both the years 1800 and 1808, he was so well accomplished that he was chosen to perform for the Chinese Crown Ship fleet, the Ukansen, an extremely high honor. From this accomplishment he (and his family) further received the honor of becoming samurai class, with the family name Ka (the Chinese written character for song) in the year 1825.
Altogether he composed 42 songs, one of the most famous being ‘Hana Fu’, whose verse reads as follows.
Hanafu Bushi
Migusiku Ni Nubuti
Standing on the Migushiku Cliff
Tisaji Muchagi Riba
I waved a handkerchief at him.
Hayafuni Nu Nare Ya
But, the boat was too fast, and soon
Chumi Du Miyuru
He edited the music compilation of Chouki Yakabi, adding his own songs to the work. This brought the total number of songs recorded in two volumes, up to 163 from the 117 pieces found in Yakabi’s KunKunShi. The original document of volume one is said to be lost with only the second volume remaining. This would come to be known as the Chinen KuRuRunShi(Later known as KunKunShi). Because the compilation was recorded on Banana Leaf, it is also referred to as Bashofu KunKunShi. The name Chinen is the last of the Classical Giants to be protagenator to both Nomura and Afuso Ryu’s. This is because Chinen was Teacher two both Seigen Afuso and Anchou Nomura. Master Chinen past on, June 15th, 1828.

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