A Japanese researcher, and professor of Physical Expressions at the Ritsumaikan University in Japan, Endo Yasuko, has invented a software (DVD Learning Material) that is capable of capturing, digitising Ghanaian indigenous dance patterns, and displaying the external and internal movements of the human body while dancing. This digital tutor can also give locational direction and vital information to some major tourist attractions in the Ghanaian society in general.
This digital program, aside from aiding the view of 54 focal angles of the dancing body, has some other features that give historical cum cultural background of the various dances of focus, as well as textual inscriptions and directions that complement the total visualisation and identification of essential body parts of the dancer; making it easy for academic and professional study in the Japanese, English and some other international languages of the academia.
The inventor, Professor Endo in displaying and explaining the functions of the various features of the programs to some dance specialists at the University of Ghana, says, she aims at exploring the familiarities in the African traditional dances and the Japanese dance movements, and the impact of the arts on the socioeconomic development as well as diplomacy.
Indicating a discovery of familiarities in Japanese cultural dances and the Ghanaian counterparts, the Social Scientist says, his three major motives for embarking on the discovery project were to; see, hear, and feel the society, culture and arts of Ghana, so, to become more familiar with the society, culture and arts of the country, and therefore nurture eagerness to learn, and thinking in terms of international understanding and interactions that would facilitate practical participation of the arts in Japan; has worn her the Prize of Excellence in the 32nd Digital Learning Material Competition under the NOPODAS in 2016.
“The body movement of rice plantation dances in Japan are identical with some local dances here [in Ghana]. The Japan people would be glad to note this”, she added.
The professor was sure her class material, would be adopted and incorporated learning modules of the 5th and 6th grades of the Japanese elementary school system. This, according to her, would strengthen the Ghana-Japan relations, and hence, the bad perception of Africa, specifically Ghana in the western world that has to do with poor sanitation, lack of good medicines, and friendly environment would be transformed in effect.
“Many Japanese are perceived that Ghana is not a hygienic, and well secured environment to tour, and, or, invest in, but if the children learn these realities [facts about Ghana], they would be interested in visiting Ghana”
She has however, bemoaned the little attention given to the development of the African arts to attract foreign recognition and investment, saying; unlike the situation where donor agencies and bodies support the exploration of other knowledge entities, the arts are dying off slowing.
The Head of Department for Dance Studies at the University of Ghana, Dr. Kwasi Kuwor, was grateful for the initiative to promote the local Music and Dance in the western world. He commends the Japanese academician for giving prominence to Ghanaian arts in the Japanese academia, saying, the project would raise the interest in knowing the culture of Ghana, which would in the long term give a boon to the tendency of attracting investment into the Ghanaian Tourism and Hospitality sector.
On his part, Dr. Kuwor laments the neglect of cultural education in most African school systems. He opined that, the knowledge fused in the Black culture are necessary in building robust and economic resilient nations in the sub region. He has hence called on the educational authorities in the country to give paramount attention to indigenous knowledge in the school curriculum to inculcate appropriate problem solving information, skills and knowledge inculcate good attitude in the young Ghanaians for nation building.
By Akpagana-Kesedovo Logah, ATV