Indigenous sailors showcase culture in Japan

Three Indigenous sailors from HMAS Hobart opened an official reception on board the ship in Yokosuka, Japan, during International Fleet Review Week.

CAPTION: Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Jorde Lenoy conducts an Indigenous welcome ceremony during an official reception on board HMAS Hobart in Yokosuka, Japan. Story by Lieutenant Brendan Trembath. Photo by Leading Seaman Daniel Goodman.

In attendance were VIP guests including Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Mark Hammond and admirals from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and US Navy.

The sailors performed Indigenous dances from the NSW South Coast and Queensland.

Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Jorde Lenoy led the group and said it felt amazing to stage a cultural performance overseas.

“I was really proud to be representing not only the Royal Australian Navy but also showcasing my culture internationally,” Able Seaman Lenoy said.

His mother is from the Kalkadoon tribe in Mount Isa and his father from the Gunganji tribe just outside of Cairns.

The first dance welcomed guests to a safe space and the following dance told the tale of how the black cockatoo acquired its black feathers.

The final piece was called the ‘shake a leg dance’.

Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Connor Rose, whose mother is part of the Dungadi tribe in the Port Macquarie mountains, said it was a little nerve-wracking to perform in Japan, but he enjoyed it.

“It was just unreal and exciting at the same time,” Able Seaman Rose said.

“I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

The third member of the trio, Seaman Boatswains Mate Clayton Anderson, said it was challenging to learn the moves but Able Seaman Lenoy was a good mentor.

“We adjusted and we adapted and hopefully put on a good performance,” Seaman Anderson said.

Seaman Anderson is from a small community in the Gulf of Carpentaria. His mother is of Garawa descent and his father from the Yanyula people.

Nearly five per cent of Hobart’s crew identify as Indigenous.

Before the event the three sailors rehearsed in the ship’s laundry.

As dryers and washing machines hummed in the background, the dancers practised their steps to the beat of clapping sticks. Their practice paid off at the official reception.

Among the guests was JMSDF Master Chief Petty Officer Azuma Kuzuhito, who said Japan respected traditional culture.

“When we understand each other’s culture it is going to help make our relationship stronger,” Master Chief Petty Officer Azuma said.

CAPTION: Seaman Anderson performs during the reception. Photo by Leading Seaman Daniel Goodman.





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5 thoughts on “Indigenous sailors showcase culture in Japan

  • 13/11/2022 at 4:17 pm

    “I was really proud to be … showcasing my culture internationally,” Able Seaman Lenoy said.
    I found this:
    “Culture refers to the cumulative deposit of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, roles, spatial relations, concepts of the universe, and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations through individual and group striving. ”
    It would seem that they advanced very little over the millennia from the time when the Britons were daubed in woad. No written language, no instrumental music beyond a drone, no metal weapons, no significant architecture.
    Compare this with the Aztecs, Incas, Japanese or even the Olmecs who were producing books of over 100 pages in the fourth century BC. Meanwhile, their religion is less developed than Greek mythology with their explanation of astronomy, creation and Dreamtime (a corruption of ‘drimmin’ which refers to totem creatures of each clan).
    The Australian First Nations were as afar apart as Gibralta is from Helsinki or Amsterdam is from Jerusalem yet they speak as if they are a single culture.

    • 13/11/2022 at 4:21 pm

      1. Further, my son-in law – a fine chap – is a Gurindgi from NT, making my grandsons ‘Aboriginal’, according to the government which chooses to confer on them a host of privileges on the grounds of them being ‘disadvantaged.’
      2. Compare the performance shown above with Heian culture in Japan. I know which one I am more impressed by.

  • 13/11/2022 at 2:57 pm

    I ask this as a genuine question and as a past member of the ADF where the bloke next to you was your mate regardless of race or religion, are these men genuinely happy to be doing this or is it just a part of the woke theatre they’re being roped into doing with a pat on the head coz they’re blackfellas?

    Because as we all know the “welcome to country” is a recent piece of theatre created by Ernie Dingo and Fremantle Council with very little ‘culture’ at its base.

    • 13/11/2022 at 3:11 pm

      I’m from Scottish ancestry but I couldn’t do a highland fling to save myself, my best mate in the Service was from Thursday Island loved Thai food and was a mad golfer but he couldn’t throw a speer to save his life… know what I mean?

    • 13/11/2022 at 4:07 pm

      A pair of local retired GPs attended an Australian Nature Foundation (or some such) event recently and witnessed the ‘Welcome to country” and didgeridoo playing. In conversation afterwards, they were informed that each cost $400 with another $200 if they had included a smoking ceremony. Seriously?!


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