Kina for Governor?
Shoukichi Kina returned to music this year with the release of Washinnayo, a joint project with Dutch musician and producer Pascal Plantinga, and the mini-album has been getting a fair bit of attention overseas. The current issue of the UK’s fRoots magazine also features the pair in its ‘Okinawa Revisited’ article and offers a free download of the track ‘Munushiri Bushi’ to subscribers. Back in Okinawa, however, it is Kina’s political activities that have been attracting more attention.
His determination to stand as a candidate in the election for Governor of Okinawa – against the orders of his party – caused him to be expelled from Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan). In typical undaunted fashion he is now campaigning as an independent candidate in the election which takes place next Sunday. Kina has been out and about with his campaign which has inevitably included the singing of his trademark song ‘Hana’.
A major issue in the election is the Japanese government’s intention to push through their plan to allow the construction of a new American military base on Okinawa in the rural district of Henoko on the coast of Nago. This would in theory replace the existing base at Futenma. It is a plan which ignores the wishes of the local people who earlier this year voted decisively for a Nago mayor who is vehemently opposed to the base and to all military activities.
Like many Okinawans who continue to protest over the proposed construction, Kina is against the Henoko plan. However, the latest opinion poll in the Okinawa Times, shows Kina lagging some way behind in the four man race to be Governor. Currently leading the way is another anti-base candidate Takeshi Onaga who is closely followed by the present conservative Governor Hirokazu Nakaima.