FIRST LOOCHOO IDENTITY CONFERENCE “LIKE A FAMILY REUNION”

11075160_1085583528125093_6808436976877316622_oThe first LooChoo Identity Conference (LCIC), was held on Moku O Kahekili/Maui, from March 20-22. Over 100 Delegatesand volunteers from O`ahu, Maui, and Moku o Keawe/Hawai`i Island, as well as participants from as far away as Okinawa and New Mexico attended this event, hosted by the Maui Okinawa Kenjin Kai, and Maui Ryukyu Culture Group, and produced by Ukwanshin Kabudan.  From Friday through Sunday, the conference was filled with discussion, sharing, learning, thought, emotion, and fun.

Mock cave and display by Maui groups

Mock cave and display by Maui groups

The first day opened with registration by the participants, and getting to know each other as everyone was introduced to their groups.  “It was like a family reunion “, said Gary Oshiro from Waiakea.  To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Okinawa, and honor the war survivors living in Maui, the Maui Okinawa Kenjin Kai and Maui Ryukyu Culture Group presented an emotional and awesome display which greeted everyone as you entered the Maui Okinawa Culture Center.  1781279_1085584808124965_8953854188594042634_oThere was a mock replica of a cave which the Okinawa people hid in during the war, with sound effects of the bombing in the background. Inside and out, were real stories and interviews of women who had lived through the horrific events, and now reside in Maui.  Many revisited the display more than once to take in the stories shared by these women.  Mrs. Kiyabu, a survivor, went up to one of the conference’s younger members ,(Alex Abe),from Honolulu’s Young Okinawans of Hawai`i, and told him, “I don’t have much time on this earth.  It’s up to you younger ones to pass on what we have.  Thank you for coming to this conference and learning.”11080533_1085662448117201_4520249734049486953_o

The conference continued the second day at the Rinzai Zen Mission in Paia.  This temple was built by the first generation Okinawans from the Paia plantation town, and is still a gathering place for Okinawan groups.  This is also the location of the only ALL OKINAWAN   bon dance in the state, and possibly the country.  It seemed so appropriate to have a conference to connect back to roots at this temple with a deep Hawai`i Uchinaanchu history, and with the graves and remains of many of the first generation housed there.  The day opened with the original oratory “Who Am I” which brought back memories to many of the connection to the first generation and what we have lost.  Tears flowed as many realized what they missed form the past and also some expressed regretting not having connected more with their first generation while they were alive.  Everyone then broke into small discussion groups to discuss “who am I”.

who am i treeThe next introduction to another group breakout for thought and discussion was given by Keith Nakaganeku Shinshi, who shared his experience of realizing who he was after losing his job in the corporate world.  His presentation led many to realize that who we really are is what we can be stripped down to.  The second breakout saw a change in thought of “who am I”.  Presentations in a panel discussion by individuals representing various organizations. gave everyone a look into the problems and struggles the community was facing in a new generation.  We got to see that many are similar although we may think other clubs or organizations are better off.  We are all facing loss of membership, volunteers, monies, participation, young interest, and purpose.  It gave everyone a feeling of being in the same boat and that we must work together to support each other and share so we can move ahead together as we try to pass on our Okinawa culture in our communities .

Maui Ryukyu Culture Group's Shimakutuba skit

Maui Ryukyu Culture Group’s Shimakutuba skit

The evening brought everyone back together again at the Maui Okinawa Cultural Center as groups shared their talents in what they have learned in Okinawa music and language . We also can’t forget the “maasan”, onolicious Tiibichi Jiru/pig’s Feet soup specially made by Mr. Nazo for that evening.  The best pig’s feet in the state! 1517401_950387568313091_5618033548276941378_nThe Shimakutuba/ Okinawa language skits by Maui and Honolulu brought laughter and enjoyment with the clever creativity of the skits they presented.  Hawai`i Island was represented by Troy Sakihara and Gary Oshiro playing some Okinawa folk music and joined by Ryota Kokuba, from Okinawa, who did an impromptu hatoma Bushi for them. 11073493_950388068313041_4910658162689459945_nJason Hondo represented the Maui Afuso Ryu group with “Nmu nu Jidai”, that brought back memories of the hardship and famine in Okinawa’s history. The program ended with a short concert by Ukwanshin leaders joined by Terry Higa Shinshi helping out on shima deeku.  Everyone left that evening with a lot to think about and looking to the next day.11083955_927425800648547_6665754832243818827_o

The third and last day of the conference opened with protocol welcoming out esteemed Hawaiian language panelists.  We were honored to have Dr. Keiki Kawae ae`a, director of Hawaiian Language Center Kahaka `Ula Ke`elikolani, University of Hawai`i Hilo, Dr. Kahele Dukelow, University of Hawai`i Maui, and Emiko Joy, Punanaleo o Maui Hawaiian Immersion teacher. 10551688_1086955641321215_4592244390137617700_o For many of the participants, it was the first time they got to hear first hand about the struggles and hard work of the Hawaiian community to revitalize their language despite their minority status in their own islands.  Also, everyone got a very strong message of empowerment and the realization that we need to “do it” if we are to succeed in any revitalization.  We learned that we must claim our identity and be able to stand up and be proud of who we are if we are to succeed.  In the discussion, we also realized that we have an obligation to our ancestors to which we are connected through our language and culture.  Without language there is no music and culture will die.  Our Uchinaanchu community, especially in Okinawa is far ahead and at an advantage compared to where the Hawaiians were 30 years ago, as Okinawa has a 90% majority in both population and political positions. Uchinaanchu in Okinawa need to be decolonized and realize they can revitalize the identity and language if they really want to.  Another problem realized that related to Hawai`i Okinawa language education is the discrimination of Okinawa language in the University of Hawai`i system which requires a Japanese language prerequisite to be able to take Okinawa language and culture course.  Okinawa language is the ONLY language with another language prerequisite and this causes discouragement as underclassmen and undergraduates cannot take these courses.  There is also no lower level Okinawa language course being offered at this time.  The morning continued with another panel discussion with the previous day’s panelists from the different Okinawan organizations, but this time they presented their success and services they provide to the clubs or community.  It was interesting to see that one of the smallest and newest organizations shined with what they have been doing and with their work for revitalization in the Maui community.  The Maui Ryukyu Culture Group has been a valuable resource that works along side the Maui Okinawa Kenjin Kai.  Congratulations to all the groups who presented in this panel!

10861015_1085243228159123_6569720154140500226_oFinally after lunch, we shared in general discussion about what the conference brought to individuals.  It was clear that the conference brought many to think differently about their Okinawan Identity and culture, and to feel a stronger foundation on which to stand on to stand up and not be afraid to protect language, culture, etc.  Participants voiced their eagerness to help in any way possible, and support such things such as the current emergency situation in Okinawa, language issues at the University, and wanting to join language, music history and genealogy groups to deepen their understanding of who they are and make a stronger connection to their roots.  We then joined in a circle to sing the theme song of the conference, “Tinsagu Nu Hana”, and bid everyone farewell and safe journey, with the chanting and singing of “Danju kariyushi”.

This conference was a success in helping to deepen the understanding and hunger of who we are as Uchinaanchu, and where we currently stand in our own place as an Uchinaanchu.  It created bonds that hopefully will continue, and a network of people and groups who already have committed to helping each other in any way possible.  We look forward to the next conference next Spring which will be held in Honolulu!

Much Thanks goes out to the Maui Kenjin Kai and Maui Ryukyu Culture Group , for their hard work in hosting this momentous event!  Ippe Nifweedebiru!

 

OFF TO YAEYAMA 八重山んかい行ちゅん

1972441_845099572173491_1858730747_nO-RI TO-RI!Our third day in Okinawa had us flying out to the Yaeyama Islands of Ishigaki and Taketomi.  These beautiful southern islands of the Ryukyu chain holds some of the worlds most beautiful beaches and traditional images.  They love their culture and it shows in the surrounding and its people.

We landed at the new Ishigaki International Airpot and toured the island, focusing on the minsa a textiles of Okinawa.  Our members took their time looking at the beautiful work and time it takes to make such pieces that has a long tradition in these islands.  They also spent equal time shopping for omiyage to bring back, as well as gifts for themselves.  After doing some sightseeing, we found a folk arts store which specialized in Yaeyama goods, and where the owner makes “saba” , lauhala slippers.  This art is quickly dying due to the younger generation not wanting to spend the time in making or learning this art.

We then went to the Yaeyama High School to visit with the students who will be visiting Honolulu and presenting a Yaeyama music and dance concert. They have placed numerous times in Okinawa and All Japan performing arts contest.  They have also taken the overall titles numerous times and will once again be representing Okinawa in the finals at the all Japan National contest.  Watching these safe_image.phpyoung students, you could feel and hear their love for the culture and music of the island, as well as their passion.   Although almost half of the students who helped to win the all Okinawa title had just graduated, the younger members have stepped up to the plate and are giving it their all.

After watching the practice we went back to our hotel and had dinner with the Yaeyama High school teacher, Nagahama.  He arranged for us to go to a friends place and try yakiniku featuring Yaeyama beef, which is supposed to be comparable to Kobe beef.  Its from Ishigaki anyway that matsutake and Kobe beef started. 1238113_845211358828979_1696745433_n The marbling of the meat was amazing, and the tenderness and taste was more than what I expected.  くぬ牛や椅っぺマー細微異端。This beef was amazing!  It melted in your mouth!  There was so much food and the other things we did this day was amazing.  I’m looking forward to the next day.

The next day we took a ferry to Taketomi

 

1897771_845823152101133_1540019322_n

Ukwanshin Tour 2012: Returning Back “Home”

Excited and anxious tour participants left Honolulu on a very pleasant flight on Hawaiian Airlines to Osaka.  However on our arrival into Osaka, we were 45 minutes late due to late departure from Honolulu, and the strong headwinds into Osaka.  We originally had a little over one 1 and 1/2 hour to connect to our JAL flight.  We ended up rushing in and out of customes, as the JAL agents called for us to hurry and re-check the bags for the connecting flight, and that the check-in counter will be closing shortly.  We were literally running through the doors of customs to check the bags in then go to the gate.  We made it all on, and could finally relax and be on our way to Okinawa.  Upon our arrival we were met by our friends, Chihiro, Mashi, Yukari, Yoshio, Shunki, Etsuko, and Yasuharu.  It was so nice to see familiar faces to greet us as we were all feeling the time difference catching up with us.

Our first day started with our traditional visit and prayers at Tamaudun, the Royal Tombs in Shuri.  During our prayers and song “Meekata”, the group felt a rush of emotion and some kind of connection or realization which I think brought everyone to the reality of some kind of purpose to the tour.  We then went on to Shuri Castle and had an early lunch where we enjoyed traditional Okianwan food in an old samurai class house of Shuri.

After our lunch we returned to the castle’s Ryutan Pond area to watch the Shuri Ryukyu Kingdom parade.  Here we saw how it might have been when the king processed through the streets on the third day after the lunar new year.  The weather was very nice and the cool breezes carried a little chill , especially if you stood in the shade.

After the parade, we visited Kwanyin temple where some of the group members bought omamori.  We then returned to the hotel to rest after a long day, and to catch up on our time and reflect on the day, and what it means to be here in the place where our ancestors came from.

Maui Okinawa Festival “Releasing Their Okinawan Spirit!”

The Maui Okinawa Festival was held on June 16th, at the Maui Mall in Kahului.  Maui Okinawa Kenjinkai members, their families and friends, worked hard with preparations as things went into full gear with food prep from one week prior.  The hard work and planning showed as locals and visitors alike were treated to home grown Okinawa pride.

Various groups were represented for entertainment as the time was filled with non-stop local Okinawan entertainment.  Participating was Maui Okinawa Taiko, Mukaito Taiko, Jimpu kai USA Kin Ryosho Geino Kenkyu-sho-Maui, Hawaii Taiko Kai-Maui, Maui Okinawa Sanshin, Afuo Ryu Choichi-Kai Maui,Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Maui, Maui Ryukyu Culture Group, and as featured guests, Ukwanshin Kabudan.

The Okinawa Culture Room had displays and video of various Okinawan arts, food, music, dance and history.  There was also live demonstrations on cooking, music and culture throughout the day.  The entrance to the room was decorated like a gate from Shuri Castle, and cute Okinawan costumed girls greeted everyone with special fliers and pamphlets on Okinawa that were provided by the Okinawa Visitors and Tourist Bureau.

The food is always an attraction, and they were serving up maui’s famous “Ashitibichi” pig’s feet soup, which is usually a sellout.

The Maui Okinawan community should be proud of their work, especially the core families and individuals who are there to coordinate and provide manpower for all events and gatherings.  The young and upcoming leaders for the Okinawan community there are also to be applauded, as they worked hard to do the planning and bring together the vision of the event.  Thank you Maui for having Ukwanshin over, and for all your hard work!  Ippe Nifwedebiru!

Here are some links to video from the festival.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NucLHNXsEjk&feature=g-all-u

 

http://melanieagrabante.zenfolio.com/p423376486/h2E144CC8#h373d1163

Washita Ichiman Concert Brings Young and Old Together

“Washita Ichiman” concert at the Doris Duke Theater and Kona’s LEAD Theater brought surprise and emotional experiences that went beyond the stage. Tomoko Uehara showed a side that most people didn’t expect, while Atsuko Tamagusuku brought the audience to experience her story through her animated dance choreography.

Ukwanshin Kabudan brought the two cousins to Hawaii and asked them to present a more traditional show that

to just be looked at. The audience should feel some participation, whether it be physically or emotionally. The performer should also feel the audience and not be an idol on stage. That is a western concept. A word that would best describe the experience is “Yuimaaru”, or heartfelt exchange. It’s giving from one’s

would target the second generation, while exposing the younger generations to Okinawa “shima uta” and dances. The goal was to bring the ejoyment of both the performers and audience together instead of just entertainment. Okinawan entertainment is not meant

to just be looked at. The audience should feel some participation, whether it be physically or emotionally. The performer should also feel the audience and not be an idol on stage. That is a western concept. A word that would best describe the experience is “Yuimaaru”, or heartfelt exchange. It’s giving from one’s

self while not expecting anything in return, but also to receive and to give back unconditionally.

Many in the audience who knew Tomoko from her Rinken Band performances here and in Okinawa, were totally surprised to see her relaxed and at times playful on stage.

“This was more than I ever talked on stage in all my experience with RinkenBand!”, said Tomoko. “I just felt relaxed because of the audience. It was fun!”. Atsuko Tamagusuku remarked after the concerts,“Being here in Hawaii made us realize that we are missing a lot in Okinawa. We’ve lost the real Okinawanness of performing, but after performing here in Hawaii, we felt what it was like for our sempai who preceeded uson stage. They understood what it was to connect with the audience. We have a lot to think about when we go back, and I will pass on my experience to my students and peers.”

Tomoko also surprised everyone by playing Okinawan folk music, and leaving out Rinken Band songs. She showed her connection to her roots, and commented on the need to reconnect, especially after the passing of her father a few years ago.

On the Big Island, the fledgling Kona Okinawa Club, and veteran Kohala Okinawa club worked hard to bring close to 200 together there. The energy and hospitality on Moku o Keawe was awesome!

Ippe Nifwedebiru to all of our volunteers, Young Okinawans of Hawaii, Itoman Club, Honolulu Museum of Arts, Big Island Clubs and friends, and to our audience!

Click this link to see clips of the concert.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7y7I2QGlrA&feature=relmfu

Ii Sougwachi Debiru! いい正月でびる!Happy New Year!

Over 230 filled Jikoen Hall to enjoy "Okinawan" New Year

Clad in katachiki uchikake, adn dancing with nuchibana to celebrate the coming of spring .

The Lunar New Year is more commonly referred to as “Chinese New Year”, and was observed on January 23rd. Most of Asia still retains the Lunar New Year as their larger celebration to welcome in the Chinese zodiac representative for that year, as it also traditionally was also linked to prayers and thanksgiving for the

Shishimai

new year and hopes for prosperity, health and good fortune. LooChoo/Okinawa, also observes the lunar new year, as the lunar calendar is still a very important part of life, especially when choosing a good day for

Shishimai to bring good luck and auspiciousness for the year. Dancers, Takako Miyazaki, Hitomi Takahashi

 

celebrations, moving, weddings, burials, etc. However, within the past 60 years, the celebration of the lunar new year has decreased to a handful of places in the countrysides, neighboring islands, and the fishing village of Itoman. The cultural genocide that continued after the war is part to blame as well as Western influence.

Ukwanshin has tried to revive the observance here in Hawai`i from last year, as the Lunar New Year is part of our culture, tradition, and identity as well. This year’s Sougwachi event brought over 230 people together at Jikoen Hall in Kalihi. Reverend Shindo Nishiyama offered prayers in the temple prior to the main event, and was so suprprised to have the temple filled to capacity. “This is so wonderful to have so many people here to celebrate and remember their ancestors”, said Reverend Nishiyama after the short service. The celebration continued in the main hall of Jikoen, as people gathered to talk story, and enjoy

ShoChikuBai, representing strength, beauty, vibrance, prosperity, and long life. Dancers: Shizue Afuso, Takako Miyazaki, Hitomi Tkahashi

some Okinawa style food, including shoyu pork, and saata andagi. As dinner was winding down, traditional Okinawan entertainment was presented. The program opened with a special Kajyadefu, using the words of an auspicious new year. The dance was done in the original Ryojin, or old man style to represent the presence of the ancestors there to also celebrate. Also on stage was young men Aaron Hoo and David Jones, doing Meekata. The program continued with more traditional dances that would have been done in many of the villages for such an occasion, such as Sho Chku Bai, and Shishimai. The evening ended with everyone dancing Acchame to the Kachashi music.

Nubui Kuduchi was one of the favorite dances for our issei men. Dancers: David Jones, Aaron Hoo

Ukwanshin Jiute/ musicians.  Derek Fujio, Scotty Moriyama, Norman Kaneshiro, Keith Nakaganeku

Ukwanshin Jiute/ musicians. Derek Fujio, Scotty Moriyama, Norman Kaneshiro, Keith Nakaganeku

The year of the dragon symbolizes great strength for the year as the dragon itself symbolizes auspiciousness and prosperity. Those born in the year of the Dragon however are cautioned to be conservative with finances and to take care of their health. For more information on the prospects of this year, you can look up information on Feng Shui outlook for 2012, or visit Chinatown to speak to a very humble expert on Feng Shui, Michael Wu at Feng Shui Arts and Gifts in the Maunakea Marketplace next to the elevator. Feng Shui has also been practiced in LooChoo/ Okinawa for centuries, and can be seen in the influence of architecture, such as Shuri Castle, graves, and spiritual consultations for events. We wish all of you a safe healthy and auspicious year of the dragon in 2012, and thank you for your support in revitalizing Okinawan traditions and identity. Ii Sougwachi Debiru. Kutushen Yutasarugutu Unigesabira!

Ippe Nifwedebiru to Carole Yonamine and Keila Santaella for the photos.

“Ichimadin Shimanchu” Uchinaanchu From Around the World Return With Energy, Excitement.

Young shimanchu with red shirts of eisaa design and the words “Requios” on the back stand in line for immigration clearance with us in Narita.  Some of the members are with family and their faces are full of excitement and anticipation.  They look like any of the others you would see at the Okinawa festival in Hawai`i or other gathering.  However, their chatter is in Portuguese, and gives away they have come almost 24 hours travelling from Sao Paulo Brazil, the largest diasporic population of Shimanchu.  A group of English speaking men and women, some with guitars, approach us and ask where we got our T-shirts from.  They are form Seattle and will be attending the festival.  We tell them the shirts are our original and they ask if there’s some way they can get some.  The Brazil youth are all trying to read our shirts too and keep on pointing at us.  Other elderly and young alike have come from other far away places to attend the taikai.  There is energy in the air.  I everyone returning has brought with them a part of their ‘uyafwafuji”, the spirit of their ancestors, to return home and celebrate the connection we all have as Shimanchu.

Finally touching down in Okinawa, we gather our bags and can hear the cheers and applause of family and others who have come to greet everyone arriving back.  In the arrival lobby as we exit the baggage claim, people hold signs and banners to greet, whether it be friends relatives or strangers.  This reminded me of the words to Kudai Kuduchi, ” Sudiyu chiraniti muru fwitu nu nkeeni njitaya Miigushiku” (Standing arm in arm, so many people waiting at Miigushiku to welcome friends, relatives, loved ones, or just other shimanchu)

Our schedule begins with an early morning visit to Tamaudun to greet the spirits of our kings and queens, and ask permission to return home and bring the spirit of our ancestors back to travel with us on our 12 day mission.  We look forward to whats ahead and have hope that our ancestors can help to restore and revitalize our Shimanchu traditions, culture and language through their influence.  We were apprehensive about coming during this big event and with all the thousands who have come back, but I think the energy here will help to lift us up to be able to try and do our best.  Those of our Shimanchu in Hawaii who have supported us for this trip, the well wishes, prayers and aloha is what got us here.  Thank you everyone.  Chibariyo!  This is not our travels, but the travels an work of our Uyafwafuji.  Keep posted for updates while we are in Okinawa.!

Ukwanshin Visiting Okinawa With Message of Revitalization

Ukwanshin’s Norman, Keith, Brandon and Eric will have a busy schedule on the 12 day visit during the World Uchinaanchu Taikai next month.  They will be participating in the special performance at the National Theater, along with other performers from Hawaii, including Afuso Ryu members, Frances Nakachi sensei, and many others.  However the highlight will be the concert at Tembusukan in Naha on October 20th, and the various schools and symposiums that have been set up to spread awareness of the need to protect, preserve and revitalize Okinawa’s languages, culture and history.

We were not thinking of going to Okinawa at this time, especially after just coming back from our study tour in June, but we had many ask us to return during the taikai and send our message out about the need to protect language, and culture.  People are becoming more aware of this need, especially the young ones who are in college.  NHK will also be doing a documentary on us, focusing on our view from afar and our message to protect and continue the language.

We hope to be fruitful on this visit and go with the understanding that this is for our ancestors, and we are only the instruments of their work.  Yutasarugutu Unigesabira!

Ukwanshin Tour Connects Identity, Spirituality, and Culture

Ukwanshin’s 5th Gakumun Tour to Okinawa was another visit full of unforgettable events, emotion and information.  Out of all the tours, this must have been the most personal, as it brought us into so much personal contact and information than any other.  I think that this was able to happen because we as a group went up with a purpose.  Everyone also went up with an open heart to our ancestors, and as representatives of our ancestors who did not make it back to Okinawa after immigration.

Sonda Seinenkai Eisa practice..Awesome..Real Eisaa at its best

Words cannot describe our experience on this visit.  There are things that happened that were so personal and can be understood and conveyed through the heart, or to others who have experienced something similar.  From the visit to the royal tombs, to the heartwrenching roars of the US military planes flying over us at Kadena, the exchange with Taira Toshiko at Kijoka Banana fiber kaikan, her chanting the “danju kariyushi” as she stood in the doorway as we left, celebrating the reopening of the Yonaha pottery in Motobu, the excitement of Itoman Hare boat races, feeling the strength and pride in culture at the Sonda eisa practice, the hospitality of the Taketomi village elders, the reconnection and celebration with a memeber finding his family roots, and grave that hasn’t been visited in over a hundred years, and many other priceless encounters.

Haebaru High School Students..The Model for Okinawa Schools!

Visiting Okinawa is always a spiritual one.  Not necessarily religious in that sense, but connecting to ancestors and generations past.  If we open ourselves up to the voice and lead of our ancestors, we can experience Okinawa in a more deep and fulfilling way.  We need to share and understand the suffering and tragic times our ancestors faced, both in Okinawa and Hawaii.  By connecting to the past and understanding what our ancestors went through and the importance of continuing their stories, helps us to better understand our identity.  We can see that within Okinawa prefecture, there is a definite line between areas, which defines the various cultures and languages within Okinawa prefecture.  We in Hawaii are presuming when we group everyone under “Uchinaanchu”, as there is great pride in the         separate towns, villages and regions that make up Okinawa.

Itoman Ha-re boat races on Yukka nu hi. Preserving Tradition

These differences and customs are what makes Okinawa so interesting and beautiful.  Regular tours do not go into this kind of explanation, but also group Okinawa as one body.

Okinawa is calling out for the help of Ryukyuans outside of the islands, to help them to revitalize and come back to their identity and traditions.  When those of this purpose meet, the connection of hearts breaks the barriers of language and location, to bring everyone together as one to understand and share, thus making a stronger bond and exchange.  I truly hope that one day more and more young generations will have the guts to challenge themselves to find their roots and help Okinawa stand up for their rights to live and teach their language, culture and arts.  We must set that vision into motion, so that the wheels turn forward for the

Dakidun(Taketomi) Island..The model all Okinawa should follow

true revitalization of our homeland, like the revitalization of Hawaiian culture, language and arts have made it so common for us in Hawai`i.  Its our turn to take back our identity and culture.  Its our time to stand up to demand our rights to practice our language and culture freely within the schools, politics, and lives.  If we just talk about it, thats all it will come to.  It will just be talk and the lack of action will lead to the eventual demise of our core identity, and all that will be left is a shell. Namaya hana sachuru, iru chimuni sumiti, kumu hariti tidaya, uyafwa urishya. The flowers now begin to bloom, stain your hearts with its colors. The clouds have parted and the sun has appeared, our ancestors are overjoyed.

Real, living and breathing..not a fake village made for tourists

 

 

 

 

Ukwanshin Gakumun Tour Clips By David Miyashiro, Young Okinawans of Hawaii



 

please click on the above link to see video clips of the tour.  Ippe Nifwedebiru to David Miyashiro of Young Okinawans of Hawaii.

Iha Four Sisters’ “Tinsagunu Hana Concert” in Hawaii Highlights

Haisai Gusuyoo!

We finally have highlights from the sold out Iha Four Sisters’ concerts in Honolulu . The clip is courtesy of Bobby Estrella of TriStar Video.  We would once again like to thank all of you who supported this project, and which brought back so much memories.  It was the first time I have ever experienced audiences bring nostalgic photos to share, become so enthralled in the concert, and show so much heartfelt emotion, even to the point of singing “Danju Kariyushi” and waving handkerchiefs.  The audience in Hawaii struck an unforgettable experience for the Iha sisters, and they themselves have said that it has bought them back to realize that there is much work to be done to have Okinawans in Okinawa really appreciate Okinawan music again.  Not just as entertainment, but as a way to share emotion and tell stories that can be handed down from generation to generation…..Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9PpLv3zVUM