Haisai and mensore to Karakui! The idea that drives this site is to make available Okinawa-related pop culture news for the masses (i.e., it’s all available in English).
While writing about Okinawan pop culture over at the now defunct Okinawa.ws and Okinawa.com, I started the Okinawan Music Project which was a discography site for Okinawan-born artists that covered several genres of music: J-pop (Japanese pop music), O-pop (Okinawan/Uchinaa pop music), minyou (folk music), koten ongaku (classical music), among others. The Okinawan Music Project later evolved into OkinawanMusic.org (previously Okinawan-Music.org) while I still blogged about Okinawan pop culture over at Pop.i-O. I eventually combined the two which turned the pop site into a remixed version of the dot-org site. (By the way, May 13, 2002, is the Okinawan Music Project’s launch date and it’s been a part of Internet-Okinawa.com since January 11, 2003.) The combination of the dot-org site and i-O.com (Internet-Okinawa.com) was seen as a way to bring the pop culture of Okinawa to an even larger audience. I’m happy to report that I’ve received many emails of support from fans throughout the globe and keep ‘em coming.
So why Karakui? I guess I’ll begin with the word karakui which is the Okinawan word for the tuning peg(s) on the sanshin — the Okinawan banjo/guitar/lute (take your pick). I think it’s an appropriate name for a site that will be covering more than the music (like my other site OkinawanMusic.org) of Okinawa and I have plans to branch out with a project called Karakui Press which will bring even more information to English-language fans of Okinawa (e.g., podcasts, romanization of Okinawan music, kunkunshi, interviews, etc.). So yes, I have big plans for Karakui and I’m excited with what the work that I’ll be doing with the Karakui Press project in the future.
The power of one. (A bit about Karakui’s lone 1 author.) This website is a work of love by me (Richie Yamashiroya) and I’ve been a fan of Okinawan pop culture for more than 10 years (and a fan of J-pop music for even longer). Most of you probably know me by my nickname ‘Riccin’ from my Uchinaa (what locals call Okinawa) pop culture column (the UPzine) over at Okinawa.com. Being from the generation of Star Wars, Madonna, and MTV (I’m talking about being there from the beginning), I’ve always been interested in pop culture. My connection to Okinawa is through my mom—born and raised in Kadena—so throughout my life I’ve had many opportunities to experience the rich culture of the islands from my visits to my family there. Having started with koten ongaku (classical music) lessons from Katsumi Shinsato-sensei, I’m also a student of Ryuukyuu minyou and studied under the tutelage of Kiyoshi Kinjo, Ryosei Oshiro, Derek Ichiro Shiroma, and Grant Sandaa Murata. My interest in Okinawan pop culture spun out of my fascination with the pop culture of mainland Japan (which through my many years of music retail gave me easy access to all types of media) and the coming of such artists as Namie Amuro, The Boom, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Southern All Stars (the last three artists are from mainland Japan and some of their music have been influenced by shimauta [island songs]). My goal for this site (and the others that I try my best to update on a regular basis) is to share my love of Okinawa’s pop culture and to make friends along the way.
Technical babble by an Apple fanboy: Everything on Karakui.com is made on a Mac running the latest version of Mac OS X. CD album covers and other images are scanned with an aging Canon CanoScan LiDE 500F. Photos are taken with a Canon PowerShot Digital Elph or with my iPhone. Videos are shot with my MacBook’s built-in iSight camera or with a Flip Ultra. Images/graphics are edited/created with Adobe’s Photoshop, Apple’s Preview.app, Acorn
and Adobe’s Illustrator. My FTP app is Panic’s Transmit and the weblog is happily powered by the fine folks at WordPress.com. Entries are posted with ecto or MarsEdit. CDs are ripped in iTunes (almost always in AAC) and I’m a huge iPod (love at first site from the 1G, 5GB one) iPhone fan. You may also find Jason Kottke’s Silkscreen or Tenacity from minifonts.com used on some of the images. Karakui’s banner image is from Myron Akana’s wonderful photos up at the Internet-Okinawa.com Flickr photostream 2.
1 I’m always looking for people to help me with the site so if you’re interested, I can be reached via email at admin[at]karakui[dot]com or the Contact Us link to use the web form. ↩
2 The original photo of Karakui’s header image by Myron Akana can be found here. ↩
Peace, love, and rock ‘n roll.
And if you’re feeling
generous love for Karakui.com, you’ll find my Amazon.com wish list by clicking on the image below.