Ha-ri- Dragon Boat Races

Dragon Boat Race

Every year in June, Kume Island plays host to three separate Ha-ri- Races. Ha-ri- is the Okinawan term for the Dragon Boat races that originated in China. Versions of Ha-ri- take place throughout Asia today.

Preparing Ha-ri- boatsThe Dragon Boats are canoe like boats made of wood and propelled by a team of paddlers using traditional, wooden paddles. For more on Ha-ri- be sure to check out my post on the 2012 Kume Ha-ri- at More Things Japanese.

Ha-ri- Kume Style

Since Kume Island is so large, many of its events take place concurrently at different locations around the island. Ha-ri- races generally take place at three of the ports each year. Since Ha-ri- is a way to pray for a safe and plentiful year at sea, it is important for each area to have its own event.

Ha-ri- clowns in the waterOn Kume, Ha-ri- occurs at Madomari Port, Gima Port, and Torishima Port. All three are smaller fishing ports that provide a safe environment to perform the boat races. Since each port is different, and each has its own history, each race is different too.

Ha-ri- clowns in the waterThe largest of the races is at Torishima, with many students, teams, and companies participating in the races each year. You might even spot some Japanese clowns egging the racers on!

Ha-ri- usually begins in the morning around 8:00 with an initial race by the festival organizers, followed by student races and finished with adult races.

A team carries a boat

A team brings its boat to the water.

Racing at Torishima

A team completes its turn at the half way marker with Garasaa Mountain in the background.


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