“Officer Ukuma” by Ikemiyagi Sekiho [a short story]

From Southern Exposure: Modern Japanese Literature from Okinawa, edited by Michael Molasky and Steve Rabson, translated by Davinder Bhowmik, University of Hawaii Press, 2000. Source: books.google.com

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Okinawan Festival 2021 (Honolulu): Sep. 4 & 5

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Okinawan Festival in Honolulu will once again be held virtually. Here’s a quick glimpse of the Hawaii United Okinawa Association’s (HUOA) two-day schedule of events. For more information, go to www.OkinawanFestival.com.

Day 1, Saturday, Sep. 4

2:00 pm to 5:00 pm (all times are Hawaii Time)

LIVE performances on YouTube

Special Performances:

  • Nanaironote w/ Karin Miyagi (Okinawa performer) To enjoy more Nanaironote go to their youtube page to learn more! 
  • Manoa DNA. Find out more about them here!

Welcome / Opening Statements
Greetings from Special Guests

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Virtual Okinawan Festival 2020 Program: Sep 6

Watch these events live:
 On the okinawanfestival.com homepage from 2:00 pm Sunday! Hosted on Zoom.
Streaming Live on HUOA’s YouTube Page
Streaming Live on HUOA’s Facebook Page

2:00 pm (Hawaii Time)
 Welcome / Opening Statements
 Greetings from Special Guests
 Performance: Kilauea Okinawa Dance Club
 Special Performance – Radio Okinawa Miuta Taisho
 We Are HUOA Club Feature
 Performances: Hawaii Okinawa Shorin-Ryu/Shinden-Ryu Karate Association
 We Are HUOA Club Feature
 Hawaii Okinawa Center 30th Anniversary

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Virtual Okinawan Festival 2020 Program: Sep 5

Watch these events live:
 On the okinawanfestival.com homepage from 2:00 pm Saturday! Hosted on Zoom.
Streaming Live on HUOA’s YouTube Page
Streaming Live on HUOA’s Facebook Page

2:00 pm (Hawaii Time​)
Welcome / Opening Statements
 Greetings from Special Guests
 Tingsagu nu Hana Music Video
 Performances: Ryukyu Sokyoku Koyo Kai Hawaii Shibu | Ryukyu Koten Ongaku Nomura Ryu Ongaku Kyokai Hawaii Shibu
 We Are HUOA Club Feature
 Performance: Hawaii Taiko Kai
 120th Anniversary of Uchinanchu in Hawaii
 Performance: Paranku Clubs of Hawaii | Chinagu Eisa Hawaii

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Virtual Okinawan Festival 2020 Program: Sep 4

FRIDAY, Sep 4, 5:00 – 7:00 pm (Hawaii Time)
Webinar: 120th Anniversary of Okinawan Immigration

Streamed live from www.okinawanfestival.com.

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Okinawan POWs in Hawaiʻi – Video

This video is from the webinar, “Shaping Okinawan Identity and Community in Hawaiʻi During World War II,” held on 18 May 2020 from 5:30-6:30 PM (HST). The photos are especially fascinating. For details on this presentation, see “Okinawan POWs in Hawaiʻi – 5/18/20 5:30pm HST.” This webinar was sponsored by the King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center.

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Okinawan POWs in Hawaiʻi – 5/18/20 5:30pm HST

Shaping Okinawan Identity and Community
in Hawaiʻi During World War II
Monday, May 18, 2020
5:30-6:30 PM
Live Webinar — Zoom

Brandon Marc Higa, JD, BA, MA; Director of Resources Development at Kapiolani CC; conducted post-graduate research on the U.S. military base presence in Okinawa Prefecture; currently pursuing a doctorate in law. Kelli Y. Nakamura, PhD; Assistant Professor at Kapiʻolani CC, History and Ethnic Studies; research interests include Japanese and Japanese American history.

To join the live webinar, please register using the sign-up link. You can also visit our Facebook page or Youtube channel to view the live stream video on May 18, 2020.

The King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center invites you to join Kelli Y. Nakamura and Brandon Marc Higa as they share stories about community building between Okinawan immigrants and Okinawan prisoners of war in Hawaiʻi. They will discuss assimilation policies enforced during Japan’s Meiji Restoration Era (1868-1912) to contextualize Okinawan people’s treatment as a minority within a minority.  Continue reading

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Al Toma: Find My Uchinanchu Isseis!

Al Toma is a member of the Okinawan Genealogical Society of Hawaii (OGSH), which is part of the Hawaii United Okinawan Association (HUOA). He says that the new Okinawan database just went online. This means that we can submit an electronic request for information about our issei ancestors through the OGSH website.

Here’s the text from form 1 below: Hi! We are the Okinawan Genealogical Society of Hawaii (OGSH). Along with the Okinawa Prefectural Library (OPL), we are providing this FREE resource to find your isseis! All our volunteer members can provide help in Okinawan genealogical research, koseki request preparation and non-commercial translation services.  Continue reading

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7th World Uchinanchu Taikai October 28-31, 2021

UPDATE 9/4/21: DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, THE 2021 TAIKAI WILL BE POSTPONED UNTIL 2022 October 30  to November 3.

Ryukyu Shimpo, 1/17/20: Governor Denny Tamaki announced during a regular press conference on January 16 that the 7th World Uchinanchu Festival is planned to be held October 28-31, 2021. The governor encouraged world-wide participation and support: “The festival unites uchinanchus (Okinawans) globally, and provides an opportunity to demonstrate the Okinawan chimugukuru (spirit) to the world. We will work to further the preservation effort and expansion of the global uchinanchu network.” The 7th World Uchinanchu Festival is scheduled to fall on October 30, which was declared World Uchinanchu Day during the previous festival.

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Asadoya Yunta by Kiyoshi Hikawa

2/26/20: Here’s a YouTube video that my sister, Bessie, shared with me:

安里屋ユンタ 氷川きよし

See related post: ‘Asadoya Yunta’ – A Common Bond for Okinawans the World Over

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Élisée Reclus’s 1884 Report on Riu-kiu (Lu-chu)

Note: The electronic version of this book is available free at play.google.com. The following excerpts are from pages 381-385 and 409. -js

Élisée Reclus, edited by A. H. Keane, The Earth and Its inhabitants, Asia: Vol. II, East Asia: Chinese Empire. Corea, and Japan. N.Y., D. Appleton & Co., 1884.

Click image to enlarge.

The Riu-kiu (Lu-chu) and Goto Archipelagos.

Siunanguto and the small Linshoten group adjacent to Kiu-siu, belong geographically to the Riu-kiu Archipelago, which is better known by its Fokien name of Lu-chu, and which the natives themselves call Du-kiu,* that is, ” Land of the Precious Stone,” or of the ” Transparent Coral,” as the term may be variously interpreted. The geometrical curve described by all these islands between Kiu-siu and Formosa, the radius of which corresponds to that of Nip-pon itself, probably represents the remains of a highland region by which Japan was formerly connected with the mainland. Lu-chu comprises a number of secondary groups, the two most important of which stretch about half-way from Kiu-siu to Formosa, and form the so-called “Kingdom” of Lu-chu. Politically, this “kingdom” is at present a simple Japanese department, while the southern group of the ” Three San ” (Nan-san or Sak-sima) is still a subject of dispute betwen China and Japan. The Mikado’s government, however, seems now disposed to surrender these islands to its powerful neighbour.  Continue reading

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Okinawan Festival 2019 Aug 31- Sep 1 Honolulu

Aug. 31, 9am-5pm
Aug. 31, 5:30pm-9:30pm – Bon Dance only. Select food booths will be open. All other booths/rooms will be closed.
Sep. 1, 9am-4pm

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Request for Information About Okinawan Surname ‘Za’

Marla Miyashiro says:
August 5, 2019 at 8:24 pm

My maternal grandmother’s last name was Za. She was reportedly from a place called Zyasu, somewhere near Tomigusuku in Okinawa. Could Za be a variant of Zaha, which you have on the list? My grandmother emigrated to Oahu in the early 1900s, and unfortunately we don’t know how Za was written in kanji.


Response from Jim (8/5/19 at 10:50 pm):

Hi, Marla. The only kanji for Za that I could find is 座 (hiragana ざ). Possible Romaji pronunciations Za, Jōyō, Jwa. I’ll add Za to our list of Okinawan surnames and hope that someone will have more information for you. I’ll also publish this as an article for greater visibility. Please keep me updated if you learn anything new. -Jim


Marla Miyashiro says:
August 5, 2019 at 11:12 pm

Thanks a lot, Jim! My mom once told me that my grandmother pronounced it more like “Zha,” as in Zsa Zsa Gabor’s name, but an aunt said it could also be pronounced “Ja.” So, it’s a mystery. I also wonder if Zyasu is the correct place name, since I couldn’t find it on a map. Maybe it was destroyed during the war.

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Researcher for PBS Series Looking for 1950s-60s A’ala Park Photos

Gena Hamamoto, archival researcher on a forthcoming 5-part PBS series on the history of Asian Americans, is looking for photos of A’ala Park in the 1950s-60s. She’s also interested in photos or footage of Chinatown during the ‘50s-60s, or even home movies during that era.  The series is co-produced by the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), WETA and the Independent Television Service (ITVS), with Series Producer Renee Tajima-Peña.

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Jikoen Bon Dance 2019: July 19-20

Ukwanshin Kabudan 7/11/19 announcement shared by Rodney Inefuku 7/12/19:

The Bon Dance at Jikoen [731 N School St, Honolulu, HI 96819] offers Ukwanshin an opportunity to hold its annual fundraiser with a food booth that will feature an all-Okinawan menu. This is a good chance to sample authentic Okinawa cuisine outside of Okinawa. On the menu will be Kandaba Jūshi (rice soup with pork and sweet potato leaves), Uchinā Soba (noodle and pork dish) and a new item: Rafutē bowl (glazed, slow cooked pork with rice and condiments). Please come by to grab a bite to eat from the Ukwanshin booth.

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Former Soldier Stationed in Okinawa Supports Protesting Okinawans

Robert H. Stiver
Pearl City
Letter: U.S. Marines shouldn’t violate Okinawa bay
Star-Adv Letter to Editor, 5/1/19

As an Army-occupying-force member from 1966-72, who married a lovely Okinawan gal and moved my family to Hawaii in 1972, I read and re-read the article, “Younger Okinawans are more tolerant of U.S. military presence, study finds” (Star-Advertiser, April 21)1, with puzzlement and finally, dissatisfaction.

Older Okinawans would very naturally resent U.S. occupation because they managed to survive one of history’s most horrific wartime slaughters of civilians — and then endured (as did my wife as a young woman), for example, walking along a sidewalk and being groped by GIs in the 1950s-60s.  Continue reading

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Author Seeking Information About Ryūkyūan History 1880-1930

Last updated 4/23/19 11:38AM

Thomas Feldmann

Thomas Feldmann is writing a biographical book about Ankō Itosu (1831-1915), “one of the most important characters in the development of modern Karate.” As part of his research, he’s seeking answers or leads to two questions:

1. In the 1880s, when did Ryukyuan officials (scribe, Chikudun Pechin) usually retire from the Ryukyuan (later prefectural) government?

2. What was the usual life expectancy in the Ryukyus in 1910-1920?

3. Looking for a historical map of the Ryukyu Shuri area showing the different villages such a Gibo, Yamakawa, etc. On the web, there are some, but they cannot be used properly.

Please share information or leads with Feldmann. You can reach him at hoploblog@gmail.com. Or you can post responses or comments in the discussion section attached to this post.


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‘Allegiance – The Musical’ About WWII Japanese-American Internment March 28 – April 7, 2019


MARCH 28 – APRIL 7, 2019
a musical drama
book by Marc Acito, Jay Kuo and Lorenzo Thione
music by Jay Kuo


Inspired by true events, Allegiance is the story of the Kimura family, whose lives are upended when they and 120,000 other Japanese-Americans are forced to leave their homes following the events of Pearl Harbor. Sam Kimura seeks to prove his patriotism by fighting for his country in the war, but his sister, Kei, fiercely protests the government’s treatment of her people.

An uplifting testament to the power of the human spirit, Allegiance follows the Kimuras as they fight between duty and defiance, custom and change, family bonds and forbidden loves.  Continue reading

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Two Oahu Events Featuring Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki: March 23 (Forum) & 24 (Concert)

Saturday, 23 March 2019, 6:30 pm – 7:45 pm
Forum Featuring Yasuhiro “Denny” Tamaki
Windward Community College
45-720 Keaahala Road, Kaneohe, Oahu
Hawaii Hale ‘Akoakoa, Conference Rooms 101, 103, 105
Free and open to the public.

Governor Yasuhiro “Denny” Tamaki

Ukwanshin Kabudan is honored to welcome Yasuhiro “Denny” Tamaki, newly elected Governor of Okinawa Prefecture, to the 5th LooChoo Identity Summit. ʻImi ni Miru Uchinā” – Kukuru uchiawachi chibaranaya! “Our dreams for Okinawa joins our hearts together to go forward!” Keeping this thought in mind, Governor Tamaki graciously accepted Ukwanshin’s invitation to participate in this Summit. This is his first trip to Hawaii, and he is looking forward to meeting with the Hawaiʻi community to share what is happening in Okinawa.  Continue reading

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Who Is Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki?

Governor Denny Tamaki

Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki will be meeting with Hawaii residents on March 21 at the Pagoda Hotel’s International Ballroom from 6:30-8:30 PM and on March 23 at Windward Community College from 6:30-7:45 PM. The events are free and open to the public. Governor Tamaki will be aided by an English translator. For a better idea of who he is, here are twenty facts about him:

1. He is the current Governor of Okinawa Prefecture.

2. He has long been opposed to the U.S. military presence in Okinawa. He is against the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to another location in Okinawa, a position consistent with his late predecessor Onaga.

3. He was born in Uruma, Okinawa, on 13 October 1959, to an Okinawan waitress and a U.S. Marine father who left Okinawa before Tamaki was born.

4. He was born Dennis Tamaki (玉城 デニス Tamaki Denisu) but later changed his legal name to Yasuhiro Tamaki (玉城 康裕 Tamaki Yasuhiro) when he was 10 years old.

5. He never met his father. He attempted to search for him, but was unsuccessful.

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Meet Governor Tamaki of Okinawa: Pagoda Hotel Int’l Ballroom 3/21/19

Click image to view the PDF flyer.

Acknowledgment: Mahalo to Eric Wada and Ukwanshin Kabudan, Ed Kuba, and Rodney Inefuku for this notice.

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Meet Governor Tamaki of Okinawa: Windward CC 3/23/19

Click image to view the PDF flyer.

Acknowledgment: Mahalo to Eric Wada and Ukwanshin Kabudan, Ed Kuba, and Rodney Inefuku for this notice.

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Moreno Alie: Historical Bettelheim Issue May Offer Insights into Okinawa’s Current Plight

Editor’s note: This article is a reprint of a comment posted by Moreno Alie to “1850 British View of ‘Lewchew and the Lewchewans’” (Liuchiuan, 11 Oct. 2014) on 28 Nov. 2018. -Jim

By モレノ・アリー [Moreno Alie]

This article has served to satisfy my uncomfortable, itching curiosity about a dimension of Ryukyuan history that, as far as I can tell, remains relatively obscured. To disclose the source of my interest in this history, I must confess to once being one of the ‘entrenched’. Now long since departed, questions remain and a haunting irritation remains. For this reason, I read with interest and with gratitude for the author’s scholarship.

It was not till long after I left that I learned about Bernard Jean Bettelheim. The historical narrative I was able to piece together with my limited research skills struck me as incomplete. Does anyone besides myself find it incongruous that someone so notorious in Okinawa, and so obscure elsewhere, should be memorialized near the grounds of the (now destroyed) dwelling where he basically ‘squatted’ for so many unwelcome years? Further, am I the only one who is suspicious of his easy ingratiation with Commodore Perry later on?

My opinion is that the answers to these questions are not trivial, but may well offer the insights that can decisively open a way to resolving the contemporary conflict and dilemma that currently burden so many, not only in Okinawa, but beyond as well.

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‘The Okinawas: Their Distinguishing Characteristics’ – 27 March 1944

Last updated 10/7/18  5:00 PM

To read the PDF version of The Okinawas1: Their Distinguishing Characteristics, click the image below.

From the cover:

Okinawan Studies No. 2
The Okinawas: Their Distinguishing Characteristics
Office of Strategic Services
Honolulu, Hawaii
March 27, 1944

University of Hawaii Library


To read the PDF version of this book, “The Okinawas: Their Distinguishing Characteristics,” click this image.

The following introduces the “List of Okinawan Names and their Characters” in this book (pages 7-17), gathered from the Nippu Jiji Nekan (Honolulu, 1941) and Inagaki Kunizaburo’s Ryukyu ShowaContinue reading

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Videos: Okinawan Festival 2018 Honolulu

The Honolulu 2018 Okinawan Festival was held at the Hawaii Convention Center (Sep. 1 & 2) instead of Kapi’olani Park for the first time. I was concerned about the size of the center. Would it be able to accommodate all the exhibits, booths, performances? Would it be able to absorb the thousands of visitors and volunteers? How would it manage the bon dance? Would participants be able to kick back in beach chairs and relax? To get a sense of the size and layout, I decided to shoot a video with my GoPro. I was surprised by the size of the exhibition hall on the first floor. It’s huge. It would easily accommodate the bon dance, food booths, etc. I’m not sure about the comfort level, though, for a two-day, all-day event. Beach chairs and large coolers aren’t allowed, and there are no grassy areas and shade trees.

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Okinawan Festival 2018 Sep 1-2 Hawaii Convention Center

Floor 1 – click image to enlarge.

Floor 3 – click image to enlarge.


9:30 AM – Ryukyu Sokyoku Koyo Kai Hawaii Shibu
Derek Fujio, President & Sara Nakatsu, Vice President | Jane Kaneshiro Sozan Kai | Bonnie Miyashiro Soho Kai | Yamashiro Yoneko Sokyoku Kenkyu Kai | Yasuko Arakawa Aki no Kai | Sunny Tominaga Sokyoku Sanyuukai | Kazuko Ito Sokyoku Kyoshitsu

9:50 AM – Ryukyu Koten Ongaku Nomura Ryu Ongaku Kyokai Hawaii Shibu
Seiichi Yagi, Chapter President

10:10 AM – Hawaii Taiko Kai
Terry Higa, Instructor

10:35 AM – Opening Procession (HUOA Banners, Shishimai, Chondara)

10:45 AM – Paranku Club of Hawaii
Jane Tateyama, President

11:05 AM – Formal Opening Ceremony

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Events in Okinawa 2018: June 11 to Late August

There’s a lot to see and do in Okinawa during the summer. Here’s a great starter list that I found in Okinawa Stripes (6/10/18). I added a video (or photo when videos weren’t available) to each to give you a sense of the event or the location. If you’ve been to any of these places or participated in the events, please post a comment about your experiences. If you can think of other must-visit places to add to this list, share your suggestions in the comments section below. Thanks. -Jim

SEA WATER DREAM FESTIVAL: Jun. 10; Jun. 12 is set as Kume Island’s Deep Ocean Water Day (as the island’s water intake is from water depth 612 meters); deep ocean water item sales, Foot Cool event to experience the cold deep ocean water, etc.; venue TBD; free admission; 098-851-9162; www.town.kumejima.okinawa.jp/.

TOMARIIYUMACHI, FATHER’S DAY FISH FAIR-TUNA FESTIVAL: Jun. 16-17, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; free admission; 098-868-1096.

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Searching for Relatives of Haru Teruya

I received the following message from raquvar: Hello Jim. I wonder if there are any relatives of my grandmother, Haru Teruya, in Hawaii. I remember my mother telling me stories about Haru’s relatives that had emigrated to Hawaii and were in the hotel business. Haru married Akira Kudaka and left to Brazil in 1934. She had eleven children, one of them was my mother Keiko Hissataka.

My response: Hi, raquvar. I’m publishing your message as a post in Liuchiuan in hopes that someone will recognize your grandmother’s name and respond in the reply section below.

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Issei Immigration Genealogical Reference Service for Worldwide Uchinanchu

The Okinawa Prefectural Library set up an issei immigration genealogical reference service booth during the 6th Sekai Uchinanchu Taikai that took place from Oct. 27-30, 2016. The service searched 1st generation immigration records for information such as name in kanji, birthplace, travel date and even biography or photos if copies including those records were published. Many may not be aware that this service is ongoing for Uchinachu living abroad. (Important: Because of preparations for the new library, this service will not be available from April 2018 to approximately December 2018.) To take advantage of this service, fill out the attached application form and email it to shiryou@library.pref.okinawa.jp or send it to:

Okinawa Prefectural Library
1-2-16 Yorimiya
Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture

Additional library contact information:
Telephone: 098-834-1218 (Japan domestic); 81-98-834-1218 (from overseas)
E-mail: shiryou@library.pref.okinawa.jp (English available)

Click the image for a downloadable, printable PDF form.

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Searching for Shikina, Mayeshiro and Takushi Families in Okinawa

Message from Leilani Beardsley (5/29/18): I am trying to find Shikina, Mayeshiro and Takushi families in Okinawa

My response: Leilani, I’m publishing your comment as a post in hopes that those with information will respond. -Jim

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