Okinawans in Hawaii

Okinawa and Hawaii have had a strong connection ever since the first immigrants from the Ryukyu Islands arrived in Hawaii in 1900. There is also a Hawaii United Okinawa Association and their home is at the Hawaii Okinawa Center which opened in 1990. The Center stands as a living tribute to the first immigrants from Okinawa who arrived in Hawaii. It was built with donations from Hawaii’s Okinawan and business communities as well as from supporters in Okinawa.

I donated a copy of the second edition of my Power of Okinawa book to the cultural center and was naturally very pleased to receive such a nice letter of thanks from the Executive Director of the Hawaii United Okinawa Association, Jane F. Serikaku.

In her letter she writes:

“First, please accept my heartiest congratulations to you on your second edition of the book. I am aware that your first publication drew much attention in your coverage principally of the contemporary foundation of Okinawa’s musical legacy through shimauta which reflects the heart and soul of the Okinawan people.”

“Throughout its history, Okinawans have been known to be great lovers of their music and arts. Especially, through shimauta, we can recognize and understand the appreciation and value that Okinawans have for life, nuchidu takara. Reflecting upon its history, past and present, we can know the strength and tenacity of the Okinawan people and one art form which continues to be constant and yet flow with the times are the words and musical compositions of these ancient people. Your publication in English serves as a vehicle to introduce the public to the wide range of artists who are truly cultural torchbearers for the future generations.”

“Please accept my best wishes for your continued success in perpetuating, preserving and promoting the Okinawan culture through your work. As we say in Okinawan, IppeenNifee Deebiru~Thank you very much!”

The Hawaii United Okinawa Association website is at www.huoa.org

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