Shimakutuba, Standup Paddle Boarding, Ryukyu King & Queen, Ogimi, Underweight Babies, Hula, Tourism Boom

Yaeyma Standup Paddle Boarding Association launched to promote the sport in Okinawa (Ryukyu Shimpo 9/8/14): It plans to hold training sessions and competitions, and train instructors. It will promote SUP as a new marine sport in Okinawan tourism, and try to attract more members. According to the association, the Hawaii-born sport is getting popular in Japan. However, there have been accidents involving loss of life.

Shimakutuba lesson is essential to the development of Okinawa Culture (Ryukyu Shimpo 9/3/14): The Shimakutuba Liaison Council has made a petition to the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly seeking to enact a regulation on the protection of local languages…. A native Hawaiian educational organization was founded in 1983 in Hawaii. Elementary, middle and high schools conducting lessons in Hawaiian language emerged. As a result, the number of people 70 years of age or younger who speak Hawaiian has increased to more than 2,000 people. Less than 50 people spoke Hawaiian in 1982.

New Ryukyu king and queen selected at Shurijo Castle Park event (Ryukyu Shimpo 9/8/14): A selection ceremony for a new “king” and “queen” took place at the event “Mid-Autumn Feast” held in the Una forecourt of Shurijo Castle in Naha on September 7. Twenty-year-old company employee Daichi Teruya was chosen in the role of “king” and 25-year-old nursing teacher Marina Oyama as “queen.”

Okinawa has more underweight babies than national average (Japan Update 9/18/14): The Okinawa Prefecture health officials analyze that, as the teenage birth rate here is more than double the national average, teen mothers have a low number of maternity health checkups at a clinic during their pregnancy, and also the risk of smoking tends to be high.

Ogimi Village residents live longest in world (Japan Update 9/18/14): Ogimi is famous for not only longevity but also Shiquasa, a citrus fruit, and Bashofu, a very traditional Okinawan cloth. More than 60% of Shiquasa production in Okinawa comes from Ogimi Village and this citrus contains remarkable quantities of citric acid, nobiletin, vitamin C, vitamin B1, carotene and many minerals. Especially important is nobiletin, which prevents cancer in general. It is also said that shiquasa could be a factor in the area’s longevity.

Hula sparks Hawaiian Night at Global Village (Japan Update 9/22/14): Hawaiian Night is coming up September 27th at the Global Village in Ginowan City.

Okinawa tourism income 2013 hits record high (Japan Update 9/21/14): The Okinawa Prefectural Department of Culture, Tourism and Sports announced on Sep. 19th that tourism income in fiscal 2013 increased by 12.1% to ¥447.868 billion setting a new record. The department cites the impact of attracting people by LCC airlines, expansion of airline routes, economy’s recovery and lower yen, as the main reasons for the increase. Officials say the number of visitors hit the highest level ever totaling 6.58 million. At the same time, the amount of consumption per person increased by 0.9% from the same time last year to ¥68,062 per visitor. The increase is the first in three years.

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