Okinawa on Wax

13 Oct

Okinawa City

Today marks the beginning of the Uchinanchu Festival in Okinawa, Japan, when thousands of people from all over the world return to the tiny southern island. The four-day festival happens every five years as a celebration of Okinawan roots, either hereditary or cultural, welcoming home the “Okinawan diaspora.”

There’s a big parade where everyone marches in groups of the countries they moved to or from. My aunt Jane will be marching with Kubasaki High School, a school in Camp Foster, one of the American military bases on the island.

It’s pretty amazing, I think, that the native Okinawans wholeheartedly welcome these groups that were there as a direct result of the island getting destroyed in World War II. I felt welcomed when I was there, when I would try to say in broken Japanese that I’m not Okinawan blood, but Okinawan heart.

And that’s just how Okinawans live, showing acceptance and generosity toward everyone. There’s an Okinawan proverb, ichariba chode: Once we meet, we are brothers and sisters. I wish I could be there, with my real and my island family.

Instead, I’ll share something off this Okinawan folk 10-inch I found at the Hollywood Amoeba, Kuroshio no Uta “Minyoo Okinawa” from King Record Co. in Japan. The song is called “Kana Yoo,” but it’s in the Okinawan dialect so I can’t figure out what it means!

Kuroshio no Uta "Minyo Okinawa" King Record Co.


One Response to “Okinawa on Wax”


  1. Songs of Okinawa | Adventures in Audio - March 31, 2014

    […] did a song I featured once before, when I complained I couldn’t translate the lyrics. Luckily singer Isamu Shimoji prefaced […]

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