November 1st is Luchu History & Culture Day

via Website

November 1st is designated as Luchu History and Culture Day (琉球歴史文化の日) and a special website has been created that has information on workshops and special contests. For the contest portion, the logo mark design has already been decided but there are three other contests that run until the end of the month (9/30 Uchinaa time):

  • Photo & Catchcopy Contest is open to children enrolled in elementary, junior high, high school, and special schools in Uchinaa.
  • Kajadifu Video Contest is open to all Uchinānchu and they’re looking for video performances of “Kajadifu” (YouTubers Ryukatsutyu has a perfect example of this) showcasing the scenery from your part of the world. A special note to add that you will be using their recording of “Kajadifu” that can be downloaded on the contest’s webpage. Even if you don’t participate in the contest, be sure to download the song as it’s an amazing recording by Higa Yasuharu-shinshii (Ryūkyū Koten Ongaku Nomura-ryū Hozonkai).
  • Ryūka Contest looks like it’s open to all Uchinānchu (although it’s not clearly stated) and the rules are simple since it has to be a san-pachi-roku Ryūka and use Shimakutuba.

The bad news? Most of the website (except for the Kajadifu contest page) is only available in Japanese (at this time). So here’s the English translation of the website using Google Translate. Chibariyo to everyone entering the contest and leave a comment if you’re participating.

Winning Logo & Slogan for the 7th Worldwide Uchinānchu Festival

The new logo and slogan for next year’s Worldwide Uchinānchu Festival have been revealed! The winning logo is by Chinen Hitoshi from Urasoe City which he describes as “This work expresses the shapes of Uchinānchu active inside and outside of the Prefecture, and overseas, gathering in their homeland of Okinawa and dancing with joy. The colorful colors create the image of the many colors of national flags from around the world and people enjoying the festival.”

via wuf2022.com

“The Uchinā Shinka, Now is the Time for us to Connect to the World” is the winning slogan by Maeshiro Kanae of Naha City which she describes as “The word Shinka means Nakama ‘friends’ in the Okinawan dialect, and that the Shinka who form the Worldwide Uchinā Network are its true value. I included the message that now is the time during the COVID-19 to connect with other people, and that through the Uchinānchu Festival, Shinka around the world can connect with each other and develop further.” (And yes, the word dialect (Okinawa no hougen) was used instead of our language (Uchināguchi). Sigh.)

They received a total of 129 logo entries and 311 slogan entries from overseas, Uchinā, and Yamatu. Next up is the announcement for the Theme Song Contest (we’re excited about this one!) and the Art Contest.

2nd Okinawan FEASTival

We’re so happy to see a return of Shari’s Okinawan FEASTival! This year it’s running from September 1st to the 14th and there’s a lot of food 🍱 and drink 🍺 to be excited about. 😋

From the opening of American Cafe in 1923 to today, there has been over 350 Okinawan owned restaurants in Hawaii. Most of the original restaurants have closed but there is a new generation operating today. In the spirit of Yuimaaru (communities supporting one another, especially in times of need), we are asking the community to help support these local Okinawan owned restaurants. This year, FEASTival is teaming up with the Okinawan Festival! Festival will be virtual this year at okinawanfestival.com on  September 4th & 5th.

https://www.hawaiiokinawans.com/about

Be sure to check out the website’s FEASTival Specials page as there are limited time specials that can be pre-ordered. Be sure not to miss the handy text-only timeline version Shari created so you won’t miss out any specials.

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?