Category Archives: Biography

Uema Ayano’s ‘Imi Shijiku’ and Thoughts of Ancient Okinawan Ships

I have been listening to a beautiful Okinawan song, “Imi Shijiku” by Ayano Uema (see the video below), for some time. I love the beautiful sound of her sanshin (3-string instrument). I didn’t know what the title and the verses … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, Haneji, History, Images, Japan, Minyo, Singer, Uema Ayano | 2 Comments

US Olympian with Roots in Haneji, Okinawa

Yoshinobu (Yoshi) Oyakawa represented the United States at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helinski, Finland. There, he won the gold medal in the 100 meter backstroke setting a new record in the process. Yoshi is considered the last of the great … Continue reading

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An Aala Street Story

Gladys Sui Bun Young, my mother, was born on November 28, 1917, at home at 1071 Aala Street bordering Aala Park and across the river from Chinatown. Gladys was one of six girls born into the Young family. In their … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, Culture, History, Images, International | 1 Comment

Karate Pioneer Kentsu Yabu, 1866-1937

Updated 2/13/15 [Note: This article, “Karate Pioneer Kentsu Yabu, 1866-1937,” by Joseph R. Svinth, was first published in Journal of Combative Sport, June 2003. It is republished here with Mr. Svinth’s kind permission. -editor] By Joseph R. Svinth Acknowledgments: An … Continue reading

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Uncle Hoso: A Hero and a Loving Father

For many years when I was at my Aunty Annie’s (dad’s twin sister) apartment across from Punahou School and went to the bathroom, I used to pass some family pictures that hung on her hallway wall. I would sometimes stop … Continue reading

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Lawrence Downes – An Uchinanchu on the NY Times Editorial Board

Last updated 10/5/14 The excerpts below are from Jerry Kammer’s “Sulzberger’s Voice.”1 Kammer, a nationally recognized journalist and a senior research fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, is openly critical of Downes, but he provides essential background on Downes … Continue reading

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Choko Takayama: A VIP and a Family Friend

My meeting with Choko Takayama was an amazing happening. Three years ago, a friend working at the Okinawan Festival at Kapiolani Park wasn’t feeling well so she was told to rest in the VIP tent. There, she talked with Mr. … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, Culture, Festival, History, International, Politics | 1 Comment