We will take a brief dive into the elements surrounding this incredible unique land, people, and culture through the the lenses of authors Akemi Johnson, Night in the American Village, and Elizabeth Miki Brina, Speak, Okinawa, in a conversation moderated by Mariko Middleton of the Ichariba Choodee: Okinawan Voices and Stories Podcast. We’ll talk about identity, inspiration, history, and inquire into the future of Okinawa, concluding with hopes and dreams.
Up till now, the Miss Okinawa YouTube channel focused primarily on places to eat and visit while in Okinawa (which happens to be the main part of their job) but they recently released a video entirely in Uchinaaguchi and in 4K! (Yes, they as most other Uchinaa YouTubers still use Okinawa Hougen instead of Uchinaaguchi. Sigh.) The video is wonderfully narrated by Komine Wakako of the Miyagi-ryu Toyobukai Miyagiryuubu Kenkyuujo.
October 30th is World Uchinānchu Day and to celebrate there will be a two-part live talk show with special guests Alberto Shiroma (Diamantes) and entertainer Ryuchell. The talk show will be an in-person event (subject to change) and it will also be live-streamed! It looks like the talk show is being produced by the same team behind the 7th Worldwide Uchinānchu Festival so they will also be doing a presentation and award ceremony for its official theme song. We’ve been waiting to see/hear the official theme song and to see who the lucky musician is. Here’s a link (YouTube) to last year’s event.
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-rokuRyūka and use Shimakutuba.
Wow. This music video and song is a lot of fun! MC Gosamaru’s “Nakagusuku-son In The House” is an Uchinaa-rap song and also features the amazing Yonaha Toru on sanshin. The single is also available on music streaming services.
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.”
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.