I can say without a doubt that Teruya Toshiyuki aka Gori (from the comedic duo Garage Sale) is the most important person in Ryūkyū pop culture. Known widely as Gori the comedian, if his last name Teruya rings a bell for those that follow Ryūkyū pop culture, yes, it’s that Teruya. His grandfather is the great minyou artist and standup comedian Teruya Rinsuke Terurin, his uncle is the great Uchinaa Pop musician Teruya Rinken (Rinken Band), and his cousin is model and actress Chibana Kurara. Outside of this comedic performances, he’s also known as an actor (NHK’s Churasan), can be found on many a variety show speaking Uchinaa-guchi, and most important (to me) is his work as a film writer-director as showcased in the amazing film Senkotsu (洗骨, the English title is Born Bone Born — fun fact is that in the past films from Okinawa have had directors from Japan with main/supporting actors from Okinawa but this one is a director from Okinawa (Gori) with main actors from Japan and supporting actors from Okinawa). And like every artist during the pandemic, Gori turned to YouTube to showcase not only his numerous talents but to also feature Okinawa’s culture.
Getting back to Gori’s comeback, it was announced on his Twitter on April 20th that he had contracted Covid-19 and was discharged from the hospital. Up to then, he had been very active on his YouTube channel and other engagements (he missed 2-3 weeks due to the illness) so it was strange to see him offline during that time without knowing the reason. Needless to say, it’s so great to see him back on his channel (his most recent video is of his popular character Gorie) and active again. I should add that he can always be seen wearing a mask and social distancing as much as possible but as he’s actively traveling to different places and collaborating with other comedians, it contributed to having a higher risk of contracting Covid-19. The number of Covid-19 cases in Okinawa have been over 100 every day and mostly on the main island. Please everyone stay healthy and if you’re able to get vaccinated, please do so for yourself and for those around you.