2021 Virtual Okinawan Festival

The Hawaii United Okinawa Association’s (HUOA) popular Okinawan Festival will sadly be virtual again this year but we’re still excited for it. They also have a t-shirt design contest going on that ends July 19th (check out their website for more details). Looks like for this year they’ll even be doing smaller in-person events and we loved the Okinawan FEASTival from last year so it’s great that they’re continuing it. This year it will take place on September 4th and 5th so be sure to subscribe to their YouTube channel to catch the virtual festivities.

We learned a lot in 2020 as we created our first ever Virtual Okinawan Festival. This year, we will continue our virtual format for the continued safety of our community. HUOA will continue to strive to bring you the best our culture has to offer with all the entertainment, singing, dancing, interviews and fun videos from the comfort of your own home. We will also be celebrating Okinawan FEASTival and encourage you to pre-order food from your favorite Okinawan-owned restaurant.  

In an effort to elevate the experience, we will also have a number of drive-through food orders and small in-person events. Be sure to check with your HUOA club and this website for more details.

https://www.okinawanfestival.com

They also have a presale for this year’s festival merchandise at https://shophuoa.com. Presale ends July 24th so don’t miss out!

(h/t JTB USA Honolulu)

Okinawa Memorial Day

Today (June 23rd Okinawa time) is our Okinawa Memorial Day (Irei no Hi). 🙏

… During the occupation of Japan, in 1961, Okinawa Memorial Day was made a holiday by the Government of the Ryukyu Islands in order to remember and pray for their family members and relatives who were killed during the Battle of Okinawa. In 1972, when Okinawa was returned to Japan, Okinawa Memorial Day lost its recognition as a holiday, but this was restored by the prefectural government in 1991. In Okinawa, it is treated like one of the Japanese national public holidays.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okinawa_Memorial_Day
MONGOL800’s “himeyuri ~Himeyuri no Uta~”

Ryukyu Shimpo sent out a Tweet asking its followers what their recommended songs are for themes of peace and the Battle of Okinawa. I found it interesting that they started off with two that aren’t from Uchinanchu artists but are very famous songs (The Boom’s “Shimauta” and Southern All Stars’s “Heiwa on Ryuka”) nonetheless. It’s definitely an interesting Twitter thread to keep an eye on. (Of course mine is the song above by MONGOL800.)

There’s another Twitter thread started by Tamaki Eriko that’s worth checking out too.

Ichariba Choodee Podcast

A recently launched podcast called “Ichariba Choodee” gives a new voice to our community.

There are many more names for the peoples of these islands. Hear the many voices and stories of those identifying as Shimanchu (or Uchinachu).

Celebrating and preserving our culture, connecting the diaspora, and both proudly and humbly educating and learning along the way. Hosted by Tori, Erica Kunihisa, and Mariko Middleton.
 

Ichariba Choodee is a beautiful Ryukyan saying translating roughly to, ‘When we meet, we become brothers, sisters, family.’

https://www.shimanchupodcast.com

Added! I listened to their first episode and I’m excited to watch them grow. Subscribe (link to Apple Podcasts) to their podcast on your favorite app.

7th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival Logo & Slogan Contest

via WUF

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)

7th World Uchinanchu Festival

The 7th World Uchinanchu Festival has a date set! It will take place in 2022 from October 31st to November 3rd (note the website counts October 30th as the Festival eve).

The “World Uchinanchu Festival” honors the achievements of Okinawan people from all over the world, recognises the great value of the community heritage of Okinawa , and seeks to expand and develop the Uchina network through exchanges with Okinawan citizens around the world. The purpose is to bring people together, reaffirm their roots and identity, and thereby be able to pass them on to the next generation.

The festival is sponsored by the Uchinanchu Festival Executive Committee of the world, which is organized by Okinawa Prefecture and related organizations, and has been held approximately once every five years since the first festival in 1990 (Heisei 2). It has been held 6 times so far.

https://wuf2022.com/en/about
WUF Promotion Video

JTB has a newsletter you can sign up to for tour package information. They will have escorted group tours and are also able to help you plan for individual travel packages too. Check out their link for more details.

Follow WUF 2022 on Twitter for the latest updates.

May 15th

If you follow Japanese Twitter, you may have noticed a few hashtags (like this one #沖縄本土復帰記念日) and tweets leading up to May 15th which marked the 49th year of Okinawa returning to Japan (Okinawa reversion 祖国復帰 and 本土復帰 is also used). NHK Okinawa also hosted a 5-episode special series to commemorate the date. The hashtag noted includes the word anniversary but as Fija Byron tweets, is it really an anniversary if Japan is not the moterland of the Ryukyu people? (Be sure to follow his tweet that includes a link to a blog post he wrote on the subject.)

According to Fija Byron’s blog post, the Ryukyu Kingdom dates from 1187 to 1879 (in 1609 it was invaded by Satsuma and came under its control). It forcibly became a domain and prefecture of Japan from 1879. After the Second World War, Okinawa was occupied by the U.S. government for 27 years (1945 to 1972). May 15, 1972 marks the date that Okinawa was returned to Japan from the U.S. government. Shouldn’t the correct return be the restoration of the Ryukyu Kingdom?

Oriental Faddah and Son

Ofas

A smile. Whenever I pick up Lee Tonouchi’s Oriental Faddah and Son, I can’t help but smile. The book’s cover is nicely designed and at 152 pages, it should be a fast read (compared to the 925 pages in Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 which I’m also reading) but in reality, it’s not because I often find myself rereading passages like “Why I Hate Teachers Who Nevah Seen Star Wars,” the content of which is both funny and rather sad.

From the Bess Press website:

Oriental Faddah and Son delivers “Da Pidgin Guerrilla’s” most entertaining yet poignant work to date through a combination of lamenting and humorous poems. As you read, you will journey with author Lee A. Tonouchi through childhood and adolescence into adulthood. You will laugh out loud, sometimes cry, and maybe even discover things about yourself along the way. Award winning author Tonouchi delivers a captivating, semi-autobiographical tale through his mastery of the Pidgin language. Tonouchi intricately weaves life’s most basic human elements—love and loss, birth and death—with uncovering the identity of one’s true self. In the “Guerrilla’s” case, it’s the essence of being an Okinawan in HawaiÊ»i.

Now is the perfect time to pick up your copy as the Bess Press website has a holiday sale for 40% off (till 12/30/2011) so grab it now!

Event: Obuchi Forum -Okinawa Now- (Hawaii)

Obuchi Forum -Okinawa Now-
Sunday, March 21, 2010, from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
University of Hawaii Manoa’s Koi Room, Imin Conference Center (Jefferson Hall), East-West Center
Free admission and free parking!

From the blog:

It is our great pleasure to invite all of you to come to learn and discuss contemporary issues in Okinawa at the upcoming Obuchi forum –Okinawa Now-. This forum will be held at the Imin Center at the East-West Center in Honolulu, on March 21st. This event is part of 50th anniversary celebration of East-West Center, which has hosted many students and scholars from Okinawa since its establishment in 1960. As one of the institution’s programs, the Obuchi scholarship was designed to accommodate Okinawan students in 2000 and marks the 10th anniversary this year. At the forum, Okinawan and Okinawa-related students at University of Hawaii and East-West Center, including Obuchi scholarship grantees and many others, would like to share knowledge about and discuss current events in Okinawa, with the Okinawan community in Hawaii.

The forum will feature the following topics: military base issue, tourism, Okinawa in pop culture, and Okinawan’s youth identity.

Download the flyer (PDF) for more info.

(Nifee deebitan to Shari for the info!)