Story 1: Yaeyama
Forest Queen and Eternal Dance
An eternal dance with the queen of the forest

Surrounded by white sand and crystal clear waters, Ishigaki Island is home to deep green forests and legends of mermaids.

I have brought you to this forest seeking a wedding blessing from the forest spirits.
It is the serene hour just after daybreak when the sun’s rays are still soft and golden.
The morning mist reflects the light and scatters it in droplets as it passes through the thick foliage.

Let us drink in the forest air as the shower of sunlight washes over us and permeates our bodies.
We take a deep breath and hear the clear, sweet singing of birds — we transcend time and enter the realm of ancient legend.

Here we are, under trees that have watched over the world since long before the dawn of man. A queen of the forest walks before me in a long-sleeved white dress. Her gentle, familiar, noble smile has captured my heart and will not let go. I am the man who has come for her promising, “I will bring you joy.” I have arrived deep in this ancient forest after surmounting its many obstacles.
In the middle of nature it is impossible not to feel a “presence” of things unseen. After all, this island has legends not only of mermaids but also of forest spirits.
Surrounded by those spirits, in this place beyond words, we make a promise of the soul here and now.

Legend has it that mermaids would save the villagers by warning them of a coming tsunami.
In the same way, those who enter the forest with true love and joy in their hearts are blessed by the forest spirits to enjoy a long and happy life. A playful wind dances through the trees, and the leaves rustle with music. So as not to startle the spirits, I softly take your hand.
“Shall we dance?”

Our dance is an endless one.
In this ancient forest, there is distant memory of eternal love surrounded by deep green. It is the story of the queen of the forest and the man who loved her.
The two stories meet and become one story — and it has only just begun.
Yes, the eternal dance is the same as the dance that announces our new beginning.
Riding on the music of the wind, the inhabitants of the forest have gathered. As they send us on our way, we continue to dance.
Deep in the forest, on this island surrounded by beautiful water, let’s stay this way just a little bit longer.