Okinawan and Japanese Boats

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I was always curious how Okinawans used to travel about Okinawa island during the old days. There was a road built by one of the Okinawan kings, which ran from Naha to Nago city past Nago through Taira village and Nakaoshi village in Haneji, going north to Ogimi (village of the Okinawan centurions) and Kunigami villages in the northern part of the island.

OkinawaMap6[1]But I imagine most villagers did not wander far from their villages because there were no means of transportation. I believe most villagers spent most of their lives in and close to their villages. To go from Naha and Nago was indeed a far walk. That would easily have taken several days.  Continue reading

Posted in Culture, History, Images, International, Japan, Op-ed, Photos | 1 Comment

Discussion on US Military Bases in Okinawa – Pre-register by 7/15/16

Click image for the PDF.

Click image for the PDF.

Continue reading

Posted in Announcement, Information, International, Japan, Lecture, Politics | Leave a comment

Taikai 2016 Places to Visit: Makishi Monorail (Yui Rail) Station on Kokusai Dori

Makishi Station (牧志駅) is a railway station for the Okinawa Monorail (Yui Rail) in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. It is located on Kokusai Dori.

Makishi Station (牧志駅) is a railway station for the Okinawa Monorail (Yui Rail) in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. It is located on Kokusai Dori. Source of images, Google maps.

Visitors from Hawaii could view it as a model of stations that are now being built for Oahu's monorail system.

Visitors from Hawaii could view it as a model of stations that are now being built for Oahu’s monorail system.

Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Culture, International, Photos, Taikai, Technology, Travel | Leave a comment

Taikai 2016 Places to Visit: Shopping Arcades on Kokusai Dori

Heiwadori, Mutsumidori and Ichiba Hondori shopping arcades where Okieidori meets Kokusaidori (国際通り).

Street entrances to Mutsumibashidori and Ichiba Hondori shopping arcades where Okieidori meets Kokusaidori (国際通り). To the far right is the Don Quijote Kokusai Street Store. Source of images, Google maps.

Naha Public Market (Makishi Kosetsu-ichiba), Heiwadori.

Street entrance to Heiwadori, Naha Public Market (Makishi Kosetsu-ichiba), which is to the left of Mutsumibashidori.


Google maps allows us to enter the interior of the Ichiba Hondori arcade, which is filled with a fascinating labyrinth of stall-like shops.

Interior view of one of the arcades.

Interior view of the Ichiba Hondori arcade.

Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Film, International, Taikai, Travel | Leave a comment

20-year-old Rina Shimabukuro Raped and Killed by Former US Marine

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Fellow Okinawans near and far: When will it end? WHO will support the Okinawan people? Should we just resign ourselves that as long as the US military remains in Okinawa, these crimes will continue? DOES ANYBODY CARE? If you see the politician that represents you, ask if he or she does.

Shimabukuro Rina, 20 years old

Shimabukuro Rina, 20 years old.

See “Okinawa Suspect Allegedly Admits to Rape of Woman Before Killing Her,” Kyodo, Japan Times, 21 May 2016.

Also see “U.S. Servicemen Plotted Girl’s Rape,” AP, Journal Times, 8 Nov. 1995.

Kenneth Franklin Shinzato, Navy Seaman Marcus Gill, Marine PFC Kendrick Ledet, Marine PFC Rodrico Harp

Former Marine Kenneth Franklin Shinzato, Navy Seaman Marcus Gill, Marine PFC Kendrick Ledet, Marine PFC Rodrico Harp.

Posted in International, Op-ed, Photos, Politics, Protest | 4 Comments

Taikai 2016 Information (update June 15)

6/15/16Route Finder Okinawa website to get around Okinawa by bus.

Click image to go to the Route Finder Okinawa site (

Click image to go to the Route Finder Okinawa site (

6/15/16 – Additional information from June McVey, communication coordinator of Okinawa Tomonokai of Ohio:

1. The 6th Worldwide Uchinanchu Fesitval committee in Okinawa will hand nametags and bus passes to kenjinkai representatives at the Naha airport.  You should make an arrangement with your kenjinkai (in Hawaii it’s HUOA) representatives regarding when and where to meet to obtain the nametag and bus pass.

2. The 10/26 parade on Kokusai Street is very fun. It is about 1 mile. You’ll be marching with 5,000 other Okinawans from all over the world.

3. The outdoor events are free.  However, you have to have tickets to see indoor shows.  These tickets are limited, so you should decide which show you want to see and tell the representatives of your kenjinkai or the person in charge of the event.  You may be able to buy some of the indoor show tickets onsite, but I am not sure.

6/15/16Outline of the 6th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival (from the WUF website at

1. Festival Dates
a. Pre-festival Event: Wednesday, October 26
b. Festival Events: from Thursday, October 27 to Sunday, October 30.

2. Main Venues
Okinawa Cellular Stadium Naha, Okinawa Convention Center, Okinawa Prefectural Budokan Arena, Onoyama Comprehensive Athletic Park, Jichikaikan, Naha Civic Hall and others.

3. Festival Participants
a. Participants from overseas: approximately 5,000
b. Participants from Japan: approximately 500
c. Total number of spectators: approximately 350,000

4. Pre-event (Oct. 26)
a. Let’s Study! World Uchinanchu (One School One Country Study Program)
b. Uchinanchu Junior Study
c. Kaiho Yoshu Network Building Program
d. Festival Eve Parade and Welcome Reception

5. Main Events (Oct. 27-30)
a. Award Ceremony for Distinguished Services Overseas
b. Opening Ceremony
c. Closing Ceremony
d. Grand Finale

6. Related Events
a. Shurijo Castle Festival (presented by Shurijo Castle Festival Executive Committee)
b. Shimakutuba (Okinawan Language) related events (presented by Okinawa Prefecture Culture Association)
c. Emigration Documents Special Exhibition (presented by Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum)
d. Eisa dance events
e. Karate-related events (presented by Culture Promotion Division, Okinawa Prefectural Government)
f. The 5th Worldwide Youth Uchinanchu Festival (presented by World Youth Uchinanchu Association)

7. Program Events
These events aim to identify Okinawa’s allure through exchanges with participants from overseas, mainland Japan, and Okinawa, and to develop future leaders. We also plan to entertain participants from overseas and promote the purpose and importance of the festival among local Okinawans. Examples of events are Chanpuru Exchange Festival, World Bazaar, Uchinanchu Symposium, etc.

8. Program Event Proposals Open to the Public
We will accept event proposals that match the festival purposes and planning policy. We will then evaluate the applications with our screening criteria and select suitable events, and help the sponsors plan in order to carry out those events.

6/15/16 – Other Festival Events and Programs (from the Okinawa Island Guide:
1. World Business Fair
2. In addition, some of Okinawa’s most popular annual events, such as the Okinawa Industrial Festival, will take place before, during and after the 6th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival.

6/14/16 – Finally getting some answers, thanks to my sister, for participants attending the taikai independently (not as part of a tour group) who want to participate in the opening/closing ceremonies at Cellular Stadium on Oct 27 & 30.

1. No tickets will be issued. Instead, each participant must have a pass/badge from the kenjinkai (Okinawa association) in her/his area. This pass will allow entry to the ceremeonies and other events. The registration form and pass are from the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG). “At the very least, this badge will identify you as an official overseas participant and entitle you to many offerings/benefits from the OPG, including entrance to the Opening and Closing ceremonies, free bus rides, discounts, etc.”

2. In Hawaii, the official kenjinkai is Hawaii United Okinawa Association (HUOA). You need to complete an application form by July 30, 2016. Click here for the individual form (Excel spreadhseet)  and here for the instructions (MS Word file).

3. You don’t need to be a member of HUOA to apply. Furthermore, “The Festival is not limited to Okinawan participants, so [the OPG] would also like you to include to the list any Japanese people from other prefecture or foreigners who would like to participate.”

4. Contact HUOA’s Bonnie Miyashiro if you have any questions: e-mail (, fax (808-676-7811) or phone (808-6765400).

6/12/16 – An excellent source of information is the Okinawa Tomonokai of Ohio website. They provide information on booking flights, rooms, and houses. An excellent suggestion is to purchase a bus pass to travel in Okinawa.

They also provide information on the Thursday October 27, 2016, opening ceremony at Cellular Stadium: “This is next to the Onoyamakoen monorail station. Enjoy live performances and welcome greetings from the Uchinanchu leaders. You can expect popular entertainers and Eisa dancers. Past festivals have had dramatic starts with unexpected surprises. This is a time to set together as a group, relax and enjoy the show. You can arrive by monorail or taxi. You may also walk across the bridge from downtown Naha.”

I emailed a question to the web staff re purchasing tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies at Cellular Stadium. I’ll post their reply as soon as I get it.

4/20/16Okinawa Taikai Caravan at Hawaii Okinawa Center 5/9/16 at 7PM

3/8/16Taikai 2016 Event Tickets: How to Get Them on Our Own?

Posted in Announcement, Conference, Culture, Dance, Entertainment, Festival, Information, Instruction, International, Minyo, Music, Taikai, Travel | Leave a comment

‘UchinaAloha’ – Aug 25-Oct 1. 2016 (Honolulu)


World Premiere by Lee A. Tonouchi
Directed by Reiko Ho
August 25 – October 1, 2016
Charming Tradition vs. Change Comedy
“Da Pidgin Guerilla” Lee A. Tonouchi brings us a warm tale of generations of an Okinawan family in Hawai‘i.


Thursday, Friday & Saturday 8pm:

  • August 25, 26, 27
  • September 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 29, 30 (Please note, there will be no performances of UchinaAloha September 22-25; we will host Improvaganza that weekend)
  • October 1, 2016

Sundays 2pm:

  • August 28
  • September 4, 11, 18
  • October 2*

Continue reading

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US Military Bases on Okinawa: Is Anybody Listening?

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Fellow Okinawans near and far,

The question is often asked, “When will all this end?” But nobody listens. Look at the Japanese gov’t, the American gov’t, our Honolulu City Council. No one seems to take to heart the plight of the Okinawan people.

When will it end? Is anybody listening? Does anybody care?

Here’s a summary of the latest based on excerpts from an artlcle that appeared in the Yomiuri Shimbun (“U.S. forces must take stern steps to prevent criminal acts,” Japan News, May 21, 2016):

A cruel and unpardonable act was committed in Okinawa Prefecture. We urge the U.S. forces in Japan to take effective measures to prevent a recurrence of such a crime.

A 32-year-old civilian employee of the U.S. military has been arrested by the Okinawa prefectural police in connection with the incident in which a 20-year-old woman from the city of Uruma in the prefecture had been listed as missing since late April. He is suspected of abandoning her body in the woods of Onna village.

Continue reading

Posted in Battle of Okinawa, Government, Hawaii, History, International, Japan, Op-ed, Politics, Protest | 1 Comment

Resolution 15-322, CD1 Deferred

Rodney HeaderFolks,

Got word that Resolution 15-322, CD1 has been deferred by the Honolulu City Council. Obviously, the city council members do not have an appreciation for the pain that the Okinawan people have been experiencing the past 72 years. Is it because the council members just don’t know? Or they don’t really care?

Here are 2 videos about US Military occupation issue in Okinawa:

This is interesting. The videos on the Liuchiuan website below regarding the US Air Force F100 that crashed into Miyamori Elementary School in Okinawa on June 30, 1959, has been suppressed. Hmmmmm. They said “copyright infringement” was the reason. Yeah, right. Check here to see for yourself. Click on the videos.  Continue reading

Posted in Battle of Okinawa, Hawaii, History, Japan, Memorial, Op-ed, Photos, Politics, Protest, Resolution, Video, World War II | 1 Comment

Lecture on ‘Father of Okinawan Studies’ on 5/23/16 at U of HI

Rodney HeaderCOS Lecture Series: “Ifa Fuyu in Context — Ryukyuan History and World War II Meeting in South Okinawa”

Featuring M. Ishida, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Dr. Ishida, a memberr of the Center for Okinawan Studies, is currently a visiting researcher at the Institute of Advanced Studies on Asia, University of Tokyo. He has spent much of the previous academic year in south Okinawa conducting research on Ifa Fuyu (1876 – 1947), widely recognized as the “Father of Okinawan Studies,” and other important modern Okinawan intellectuals. Following a brief introduction of Ifa Fuyu’s life and work, this talk re-examines the context in which Ifa published one of his most controversial newspaper articles on the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.

Monday, May 23, 2016, 3:00 – 4:30 pm, Moore Hall Room 258

Event is free and open to the public. For more information please contact COS at 956-5754 or

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

Posted in Announcement, Culture, Education, Hawaii, Higher Education, History, International, Lecture | Leave a comment

Scholarship to Study in Okinawa Deadline 5/20/16


If you are UHM student considering studying in Okinawa, this is a great opportunity. Open to advanced undergraduate majors and graduate students. The University of the Ryukyus and UH Manoa have exchange program. This means there are potential benefits regarding transfer of class credits and tuition fee. The scholarship (JPY80,000 x 11 months. Approximately US$800 x 11 months) are still available for selected UHM students applying for the URSEP program (University of the Ryukyus Short-Term Exchange Program).

DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO MAY 20. Please contact COS ( or the contact person in the attached PDF for more details.

Click image for more details.

Click image for the 25-page PDF information booklet.

Posted in Announcement, Culture, Education, Higher Education, Information, International, Scholarship, Travel | Leave a comment

Experience Awamori on 5/19/16 at Pineapple Room, Honolulu

Rodney HeaderFrom: Shari Y. Tamashiro
Sent: Thursday, May 05, 2016 12:26 AM
Subject: Special Event: Experience Awamori on May 19th at Pineapple Room

Special one-time event!


Thursday, May 19, 2016
The Pineapple Room by Alan Wong (Located in Macy’s at Ala Moana Shopping Center)
5 pm Tasting, 6 pm Dinner
Cost: $75/person

Awamori is a heritage drink, an alcohol only found in Okinawa. Experience and sample different types of awamori during the Informational Session at 5 pm. Awamori will be provided by Randy Kuba and Lotus Spirits.  Continue reading

Posted in Announcement, Culture, Food, Instruction, International | Leave a comment

Resolution 15-322 Timeline

Ladies and Gents:

Please note the following schedule of events:

April 26: Meeting of Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee when Resolution 15-322, CD1 will be addressed. It’s not a perfect resolution, but is good enough for our and Okinawa’s purposes, especially for the protesters at Henoko.

May 4: Meeting of Council to adopt resolution, if it passes the EMLA Committee. All members of Council are on Committee.

May 9-10: Gov. Onaga visits Honolulu to promote Taikai and can personally accept resolution, if it is adopted by Council. Note that Council Chair Ernie Martin has already inquired about a suitable presentation time in Onaga’s schedule, figuring resolution will be adopted. Chair Martin is co-sponsor of the resolution.

After six months of effort, the resolution is on its final path for adoption. The time is perfect for the Council’s adoption and personal presentation to Gov. Onaga. There will be Okinawa media accompanying the governor, so the immediate impact in Okinawa will be timely and widespread. The timing is especially perfect during this Abe-declared moratorium quiet period prior to Pres. Obama’s visit to Japan May 26-27. For the president’s home city to declare its moral support of the Henoko movement could have a tremendous impact on our commander-in-chief. A copy of the resolution will be promptly sent to him before he leaves for Japan. We live in very interesting times. Again mahalo for your continued interest and support of the resolution.

Related articles:
Call for Testimony: Resolution 15-322 Committee Hearing 4/26/16 at 1PM
Honolulu City Council Resolution re Henoko Needs Your Support on 4/18/16

Posted in Announcement, Haneji, Hawaii, International, Japan, Politics, Protest, Resolution, Schedule | Leave a comment

Call for Testimony: Resolution 15-322 Committee Hearing 4/26/16 at 1PM

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Ladies and Gents:

After six months of effort, Resolution 15-322, CD1 has finally been placed on the agenda for the Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee meeting on Tuesday, April 26, starting at 1:00, Honolulu Hale, Second Floor Conference Room.

We are now putting out a call for speakers supporting the resolution. We need several more on this historic document. Any of you would like to participate? Councilmember Carol Fukunaga’s office staff suggested one minute per speaker. Can you please contact me by 9:00 tonight?

Update 4/24/16: If you want to speak before the Honolulu City Council to express your support for Resolution 15-322, CD1 and Okinawa, you can email Edward Kuba at

Please note Gov. Takeshi Onaga will be in Honolulu May 9-10 to promote the Taikai. Hopefully the City Council will personally hand the resolution to him at that time. It’ll be the best omiyage he can take back to Okinawa.

Mahalo for your continued interest and support.

Aloha, Ed Kuba

Related articles:
Honolulu City Council Resolution re Henoko Needs Your Support on 4/18/16
Resolution 15-322 Timeline

Posted in Announcement, Government, Hawaii, International, Japan, Politics, Protest, Resolution | Leave a comment

Taikai 2016: Sanshin Lessons for Opening Ceremony

1. Ahabushi Lyrics (tempo 68)
第6回世界のウチナーンチュ大会 安波節 歌詞

2. Ahabushi Kunkunshi (sanshin musical score) (tempo 68)
第6回世界のウチナーンチュ大会 安波節 工工四
Music sheet PDF.

Continue reading

Posted in Announcement, Culture, Festival, Folk, Information, Instruction, International, Japan, Music, Taikai, Travel, Video | Leave a comment

Taikai 2016 Theme Song ‘Yui – Linking Your Heart’

第6回世界のウチナーチュ大会 テーマソング「結~心届く~」 [Yui – Kokoro Todoku (Yui – Linking Your Heart)] uploaded by okinawaBBtv on 1/28/16.

The Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival Theme Song

“Yui – Kokoro Todoku” (“Yui – Linking Your Heart”)

Music and Lyrics: Mai Hanashiro
Music Arranged by: Katsuya Yabe
Vocals: Mai Hanashiro

There was a ship with hopes and dreams, sailing across the waves with the southern wind
There were smiles and tears that brought together history and roots
In the whole wide world, your being is my pride
Wherever you are, when you sing an island song
You hear the sound of the sanshin echoing on the island
Carried by the wind across seas and skies, your passion will be delivered

The Milky Way sparkles in the night sky, enveloping everyone’s dreams

In the whole wide world, encountering you is an honor

Across the ages, when you hear the beat of the drum
Somewhere on this earth, flags will dance in the air
The moon that catches your dreams will always bathe you
The big rainbow after the rain forms a bridge to the peace-loving you
When you make a wish, your heart always reaches the island
When you sing an island song from wherever you are
You hear the sound of the sanshin resonating around the island
Carried by the wind across seas and skies, your passion will be delivered

Click here to go to the official site of the The 6th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival.

Posted in Announcement, Culture, Festival, Information, Instruction, International, Japan, Media, Music, Singer, Taikai, Travel | Leave a comment

2016 Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival Program

For the PDF of the entire program, click here.

For the PDF of the entire program, click here.


Click here to go to the official site of the The 6th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival.

Posted in Announcement, Conference, Culture, Festival, Information, International, Taikai, Travel | Leave a comment

San Francisco Okinawa Kenjin Kai

On the San Francisco Okinawa Kenjin Kai website, click on the English option (in the top right corner) if necessary.

Directors, L-R: Juli Kodani (Treasurer/Newsletter Editor), Kinuko Mototake (Dir. Culture/Arts), Matt Matayoshi (Co-Vice President), Yasutomi Makishi (Co-Vice President), Wesley Ueunten (President).

Directors, L-R: Juli Kodani (Treasurer/Newsletter Editor), Kinuko Mototake (Dir. Culture/Arts), Matt Matayoshi (Co-Vice President), Yasutomi Makishi (Co-Vice President), Wesley Ueunten (President). Not pictured: Ben Kobashigawa (Secretary), Ryuji Ganaha (Webmaster/Translator), Fumio Tomita (Treasurer/Newsletter Editor).

Upcoming Events
Keiro Kai – Senior Citizen’s Day
August 28, 2016 (Sunday)
Time: 12:30 – 4:00
Location: San Mateo Buddhist Temple, 2 South Claremont Street, San Mateo 94401


2016 April
2016 January
2015 October
2015 June
2015 April
2015 February

Posted in Announcement, Culture, International, Publication | Leave a comment

OAA Upcoming Events Apr – July 2016

Seisonen-Bu (Activities Committee)
23rd Golf Tournament
April 24, 2016 (Sunday)
@ Chester Washington Golf Course
More information to be announced

Annual OAA Picnic
Performances, Games, Raffles, Okinawan Bon Dance!
July 17, 2016 (Sunday) • 11AM – 4PM
@ Whittier Narrows Recreational Park (Area E-1)
750 Santa Anita Avenue, South El Monte, CA 91733
More information to be announced


Posted in Announcement, Culture, International, Okinawa Association of America, Picnic, Recreation, Tournament | Leave a comment

Okinawa Taikai Caravan at Hawaii Okinawa Center 5/9/16 at 7PM

Gov. Takeshi Onaga

Gov. Takeshi Onaga

Okinawa’s Governor Takeshi Onaga will lead the Worldwide Uchinanchu Taikai Caravan to Hawaii, Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Washington D.C. to share information about the Taikai.

This Taikai information sharing session is open to anyone who is interested in learning more about the events that are taking place at the Taikai. You won’t need to make reservations….open seating….everyone welcome!

Posted in Announcement, Culture, Hawaii Okinawa Center, Information, International, Taikai, Travel | Leave a comment

Honolulu City Council Resolution re Henoko Needs Your Support on 4/18/16

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This is crucial. Please send to all the Uchinanchus you know… family and friends… so that they can support this also. We have to show support for this resolution… for the Okinawan people. This is the least we as Hawaii Okinawans can do.

If you have a printer-scanner, this is easy. First, print out the document to be signed, sign it, then scan the document back into your computer, generate an email saying, “I support Resolution 15-322, CD1.” Attach the signed document to the email,… and send email to Glenn Takahashi, Doris Lam, and Chris Delaunay at their email addresses below.

Rodney Inefuku

Click image for the full resolution.

Click image for the full resolution.

From: Edward Kuba (
Sent: Friday, April 15, 2016 10:21 PM
Subject: Fwd: Resolution 15-322, CD1

Ladies and Gents:

Councilman Trevor Ozawa’s office just informed us Resolution 15-322, CD1 may be placed on the agenda for the Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee’s April 26 meeting, which he chairs, depending on how much community support there is for it. The decision will be made on Wednesday, April 20.  Continue reading

Posted in Announcement, Government, International, Japan, Politics, Protest, Resolution | Leave a comment

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

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Illustration from George H. Kerr’s Okinawa – the History of an Island People, plate 16, after page 262. This Okinawan tribute ship was sketched by a British artist who was on a British ship visiting Naha, Okinawa, during the early 1800s. As you can see, it looks like a Chinese junk. It probably was. Quite magnificent, I must say. So are the trading ships in the photos below.

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 meant until my friend sent me the lyrics and English translation (see lyrics below). Watch the video, and watch her as she sings. Then play the video again while viewing the lyrics. What comes to mind when you follow the lyrics as you listen to Ayano sing? I’ve been to Okinawa only three times — the first in 1968. For some strange reason, this song by Ayano takes me back there, to a time not in the present but in the distant past.  Continue reading

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

Petition (3/18/16) by Doktor Urging Hawai`i State & City Reps to Support Okinawan People

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Pete Shimazaki Doktor80
Hawai`i State & City Reps: Stand with Democracy by Standing With the Okinawan People
By Pete Shimazaki Doktor

YouTube video uploaded by Will Griffin on 2/29/16

Click here to sign the petition.

Okinawa was illegally overthrown by Japan and continues to discriminated against by Japan & the USA- the only nations to ever invade this formerly sovereign nation of Ryukyu. Nearly 1/5 of tiny Okinawa has been forced to host almost 3/4s of US armed forces, despite comprising only .6% of Japanʻs entire land mass. The vast majority of Okinawans (averaging over 80% according to years of polls, referendums & elections) want some demilitarization after 70 years of occupation since WWII, which brutally killed over 1/4 of the native people caught between Japan & US empires nurturing an anti-war culture having experienced the horrors of war, and constant social, political & ecological violations from the concentration of bases.  Continue reading

Posted in Government, Hawaii, International, Japan, Petition, Politics, Protest, Video | 1 Comment

Okinawan Tribute Ships


See Rodney Inefuku’s fascinating Facebook post on his family’s connection with Okinawan tribute ships. The photo and caption above are from one of the plates published in George H. Kerr’s Okinawa: The History of an Island People (Tuttle, 1958), pp. 262-263.

Posted in Family, Haneji, History, Images, International, Japan, Photos | Leave a comment

Vote for Stamp to Honor WWII Nisei Soldiers – Deadline March 19, 2016

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Message from Eric Wada

Please vote for a stamp to honor our WWII 442nd Infantry and MIS soldiers.

Three men in my family served in either the 442/100th during WWII.

Click on to vote.

100,000 online votes are needed by the end of the day on March 19.

To view the story, please go to and please this on to others.

Aloha and mahalo,


Posted in Announcement, Hawaii, History, Memorial, World War II | Leave a comment

Kim Pennebaker on Uema Ayano

Updated 3/20/16

By Kim Pennebaker
Comment posted on 3/15/16 at 6:25 am

I’ve been following Uema’s music since I first heard her sing Soranju a couple years ago. Now I have all her music and think I know much about her roots and song. Recently on a trip to Okinawa, I stopped in a store in Chatan called the Sake Mart. I bought a bottle of scotch whisky and when I went to the counter to pay for my liquor, I saw a picture of Ayano above the register.

Soranju (ソランジュ) by Uema Ayano (上間綾乃) uploaded to YouTube by Miyako Paradise 10/15/13

I said to the old man at the counter, “That’s my girlfriend.” It surprised him when I said I know Ayano Uema. He laughed and said, “That’s my girlfriend too!” We had a common bond with each other. I’ve been back to visit the Sake Mart many times since then, and I always make a point to say hello to the old man. It’s just one of the things I love about Okinawa.

A liquor store in Chatan, Okinawa.

A liquor store in Chatan, Okinawa.

For a related post on Uema, click here.

Posted in Culture, Entertainment, International, Minyo, Music, Singer, Uema Ayano | 2 Comments

Ukwanshin Events for March 2016

Rodney HeaderFrom: Ukwanshin Kabudan
Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2016 2:19 PM
Subject: Upcoming major events

Gusuuyo Chuuganabira!

Just a reminder to join us for our 3 big events coming up next week

Registration is still open for the 2nd LooChoo Identity Conference March 18-20.
This year looks to be an international event with participants form Taiwan, Argentina, Okinawa, mainland US, and the neighbor islands. Come join us for some great discussions, presentations, and food! The concert by guest Okinawa musicians, Misako Koja and Unaigumi is included.  Continue reading

Posted in Announcement, Concert, Conference, Culture, Entertainment, History, International, Language, Music, Shimakutuba, Singer, Uchinaaguchi | Leave a comment

‘On Stormy Seas: War, Geopolitics, and Identity Formation in Okinawa’ 3/18/16 at University of Hawaii

Rodney HeaderClick image to enlarge.

Click image to view the large PDF file.

COS Lecture Series “On Stormy Seas: War, Geopolitics, and Identity Formation in Okinawa” by Kyle Kajihiro, PhD Student in Geography Department, March 18, 2016, 3:00-4:30pm, Tokioka Room, Moore (Rm 319).

Posted in Announcement, Culture, Higher Education, History, International, Politics, World War II | 1 Comment

Taikai 2016 Event Tickets: How to Get Them on Our Own?

Today, March 8, 2016, Anonymous posted a comment asking: “How do I get tickets for the event if I don’t book through a travel agency?

Click here for the latest information re this question.

I’m planning to attend, but I’m not 100% sure I’ll be able to. I’ve never been to one. In fact, I’ve never been to Okinawa. I’ve explored available tour costs and compared them to the best prices I could find on my own on the web, and I learned that I could do the Taikai for about a third of quoted prices. This was a couple months ago, so the prices might’ve gone up.

Anyway, the downside of traveling independently is having to forego the tours and English-speaking guides — as well as having to make all the arrangements without the help of seasoned tour operators. Still, if I do go, I’ll more than likely do it independently.

Perhaps the biggest question mark is getting tickets to the official Taikai events — the question that Anonymous is asking. It seems as though tour operators have an inside track on getting those tickets. At least, this is the impression I believe most people have.

But is it true? Do we have to sign on with an escorted tour group to get tickets? Or can we get them on our own, preferably online?

I guess we could ask those who attended past Taikais. Were they able to purchase tickets upon arrival in Okinawa by going to ticket offices or branches? Or did they see others buying tickets? Could we walk up to the ticket window at the gate to purchase them on the day of the event? Or were they sold out?

Hopefully someone with reliable information will enlighten those of us who plan to attend independently. Will we be able to purchase tickets on our own? How?

Posted in Culture, International, Taikai, Tour, Travel | 2 Comments

Uema Ayano Was Here in Hawaii in February 2016!

Uema Ayano at the Hawaii Okinawa Center during the Messages of Peace by the Children of Okinawa ” exhibitOkinawa Prefecture Peace Memorial Museum presented its fourth “ Messages of Peace by the Children of Okinawa ” exhibit from February 3 to 7in Hawaii Feb. 3-7, 2016

Uema Ayano made a surprise visit to the Hawaii Okinawa Center during the Okinawa Prefecture Peace Memorial Museum’s exhibit “Messages of Peace by the Children of Okinawa,” from February 3 to 7, 2016. Photo and information from Uchinanchu, Jan-Feb 2016.

Uchinanchu, Jan-Feb 2016: “Ayano Uema, a well-known singer from Gushikawa, Okinawa, paid a surprise visit to HOC to view the Peace Messages Exhibit. She treated everyone present to a beautiful and most appropriate song about Himeyuri. Ayano hopes to return to Hawaii and perform at the Okinawan Festival.”

Uema Ayano, “Okinawan Soul,” was here, in Hawaii, a month ago, and I missed it. I can’t believe it. Hopefully she’ll return to perform at the 2016 Okinawan Festival September 3-4. If I make it to the 2016 Taikai, October 26-30, I hope she’s going to be one of the performers. If you haven’t heard her play the sanshin and sing, then you’re in for a surprise. She has a style that will reach deep into your Okinawan soul.

I began this blog, Liuchiuan, after accidentally stumbling on one of her videos on YouTube. My article about her, “Uema Ayano (上間綾乃): Okinawan Soul,” was the first post in this blog on June 21, 2013. She made the Okinawan spirit, expressed in minyo, come alive for me, and that ignited an interest in Okinawan music, culture, history, politics, sports, food, etc.

If you’re not familiar with her songs, make the time to listen to some of her performances captured in YouTube videos. Do a search on “Uema Ayano.” In my post, I’ve embedded a number of videos that I really like.

Posted in Culture, Entertainment, Exhibition, Hawaii Okinawa Center, International, Minyo, Music, Singer, Uema Ayano | Leave a comment