(re)Imagining Homelands

Sunday, April 21, 2024
Leeward Theatre, Leeward Community College

Buy your tickets here!

(re)Imagining Homelands offers a creative recalling of ancestral memories. Since their first collaboration, Imaginary Homelands in January 2022, artists and cultural practitioners Kenny Endo, Norman Kaneshiro, Derek Fujio, and Yukie Shiroma have infused fresh elements into this new show. Their captivating, imaginary journey into the intersections of Japanese taiko, Okinawan sanshin, Okinawan and modern dance—awakens our cultural soul. Musicians Brandon Ufugusuku Ing and Jesse Shiroma and a cast of eight contemporary dancers join in this time to create a moving experience. Yukie Shiroma is the director/choreographer.

Two dances from their 2022 debut, Uchinā nu Chimugukuru and Steel Rain, will be reprised and three new ones will be featured: Broken Mirrors, fragments of memory that remain after leaving home; Kame Kame Luahine, inspired by the rhythms of grandma washing rice; and Bones: A Life Once Lived, inspired by the need to return to the homeland with text from author/playwright, Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl.

(re)Imagining Homelands is presented by the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Outreach College, Leeward Theatre as part of their 50th anniversary season, East-West Center Arts Program, and Monkey Waterfall with funding from the Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.


Kenny Endo was the first non-Japanese national to be honored with a natori, a professional stage name, in the field of Japanese classical drumming. He is Artistic Director of the Taiko Center of the Pacific and tours extensively, presenting his innovative cross-cultural musical collaborations throughout the U.S. and internationally. In 2022, he was recognized as a Living Treasure of Hawai‘i and a United States Artist Fellow.

Norman Kaneshiro is a co-founder and the musical director of Ukwanshin Kabudan, an Okinawan performing arts organization. He is designated as a cultural preservationist of Okinawan classical music by the Okinawan Prefecture Government, and is currently an instructor of Okinawan music in the University of Hawai‘i’s Department of Music.

Yukie Shiroma, modern and Okinawan dancer, is Artistic Director of mask dance theatre company, Monkey Waterfall. She founded and directed the Mid-Pacific Institute School of the Arts Dance Program and is currently an instructor of Okinawan dance in the University of Hawai‘i’s Department of Theatre and Dance.

Derek Fujio, is the Music Department Chair and Orchestra teacher at Kaimuki Middle School, and president of the Okinawan koto organization, Ryukyu Sokyoku Koyokai Hawaii.

Brandon Ufugusuku Ing is a fourth-generation Okinawan born and raised in Kāneʻohe. He has spent many years practicing both guitar and sanshin in a wide range of musical styles, including traditional Okinawan music. He devotes much of his time and energy contributing to the revitalization of Uchināguchi, the indigenous language of Okinawa as well as composing songs in the language.

Originally from Hilo, Hawai’i, Jesse Shiroma, uses music to explore his heritage as half-Ryukyuan and half-European growing up in the islands. His experience as a professional accordionist span over a decade which he now excitedly brings to Leeward Theatre.

Michael Harada, visual artist/mask maker, is one of the founders of Monkey Waterfall.  He has an MFA in Printmaking from UHM and chaired the visual arts program at Leeward Community College. His artistic skills have been showcased in shows at Honolulu Theatre for Youth, Kumu Kahua Theatre, and Manoa Valley Theatre.

Anna Asano, Kathy Carranza, Megan Inada, Maureen Kearns, Simone Lai Shinde, Zoey Simmons, Rianne Sachie Tong, and Allan Zablocki.