From May 23rd to June 30th 2021, Murasaki Mura is offering free admission to its Ryukyu Kingdom theme park while actually being temporarily closed due to the emergency declaration for Okinawa. Sounds like a great opportunity for picture-taking like @Okinawanderer.
In the category of “I really want to watch this!” comes the RBC Ryukyu historical drama Shō En Ou (the king of the second Shō dynasty) which aired in February 2020 and is being streamed on Japan’s Paravi service and sold as a DVD (sadly, no English subtitles for both editions).
The cast is led by ParanaiSaranai’s Chinen Shingo (he’s also the first Kanai/Ryujin Mabuyer!) as King Shō En and features actors and actresses from Okinawa. I found the DVD for sale on Amazon Japan but it’s region code 2 (not playable on US players) so I may have to go the Paravi route which is at least offering 2 weeks for free.
ORANGE RANGE‘s guitarist NAOTO and vocalist (mid-range) HIROKI provided the music and lyrics to the 1st major single (double A-side) for J-pop group 7ORDER. The song is titled “SUMMER sama-sama” and is coupled with the single “Ame ga hajimari no aizu” and set to be released on July 7th.
It’s great to see the OR band still active since forming in 2001. On a personal note, I remember seeing OR vocalist RYO at a hotel in Chatan and he was so cool and chill. As this year marks their 20th anniversary, be sure to follow the band’s Twitter for the latest news.
Showcase your creativity and earn fame and money by submitting a logo and/or a slogan for next year’s 7th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival! The application deadline is Friday, July 9, 2021, and the winner(s) will be announced in late August (subject to change). As the slogan can be emailed and multiple entries are being accepted, I’ll definitely be giving this a go.
Learn more about it and download the applications on the WUF2022 webpage. (h/t to @JTBUSA_Honolulu)
Surprised? Yes, there actually is (soon to be was) an AKB48 (a popular idol group in Japan) member from Okinawa, Miyazato Rira. She is part of Team 8 (there are 5 teams in total named A, K, B, 4, and 8) which was formed in 2014 and was formed to represent one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Miyazato Rira also happens to hold a position in Team 4. On May 12th, it was announced that she will be graduating in July of this year.
In case you’re wondering, the word graduate in the idol world means that the person will be leaving the group and there are various reasons for doing so. For Miyazato Rira, she felt that due to the pandemic she wasn’t able to meet with fans but it did give her an opportunity to think more about her future (i.e. her life after AKB48). Follow her Twitter for the latest updates.
It’s crazy times that we’re able to watch a livestream of the amazing Ganeko Yoriko‘s performances at her minyou stage Utahime. I visited there a long time ago with a group and we were invited to do an impromptu live performance on her stage. She’s very gracious and kind so if you’re in Okinawa, be sure to make Utahime one of the top places on your must-visit list. She streams live once a month so be sure to subscribe to her channel.
Speaking of Aragaki Yui’s marriage announcement, she joins a growing list of popular actresses/singers from Okinawa with Uchinaa-muuku (son-in-law of Okinawa) husbands.
2021 Hoshino Gen (actor) to Aragaki Yui
2017 Kamiyama Ryuji (actor) to Chibana Kurara
2016 Inoue Yoshio (actor) to Chinen Rina
2014 Mukai Osamu (actor) to Kuninaka Ryoko
2014 Tanaka Tetsushi (actor) to Nakama Yukie
2012 Oguri Shun (actor) to Yamada Yu
2012 Akanishi Jun (musician) to Kuroki Meisa
2012 Hiro (musician) to Ueto Aya (her mother is from Ishigaki-jima)
1997 Sam (dancer) to Amuro Namie
1979 Shinoyama Kishin (photographer) to Minami Saori
I recall a couple of guys in Okinawa lamenting that all the pretty Okinawan women go to outsiders. For myself, as long as they’re both happy that’s what matters the most.