“The World Youth Uchinanchu Network” launched for the Festival, calls for young people to participate through Facebook

“The World Youth <em>Uchinanchu</em> Network” launched for the Festival, calls for young people to participate through Facebook

The Next Generation Project members are sending out message flags for the Uchinanchu Festival from that which came from the Bolivian. Miyagi (from left), Tamamoto, Kinjo, Nakamura, on August 10, at the Harborview Crowne Plaza Hotel in Naha, Okinawa.

August 12, 2011 Tsuyoshi Arakaki of Ryukyu Shimpo

Ahead of the 5th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival to be held in October, the Next-Generation Project team, which is working on organizing a network for young people, has recently launched the “The World Youth Uchinanchu Network,” through which they call for younger uchinanchu to get in touch with each other through Facebook. Already some 765 people in their 20s and 30s living both within, and outside the prefecture have registered their membership on the network. They will discuss how to use it to develop exchange among younger uchinanchu around the world, with the key members acting as mediators.

Fifteen young people living in the prefecture manage the Next-Generation Project, in which they carry out public relations activities and workshops on the history of migration. They organized “The World Youth Uchinanchu Network” to broaden the relationship with the younger generation of uchinanchu.

About 200 of the people who have registered with the network are residents of foreign countries, including many second-generation or third-generation immigrants from Okinawa. They cannot raise the money to actually participate in the Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival, but they are very keen to create links with the same generation of young people in Okinawa. Since the exchange activities started, there have been some changes among Okinawan young people – some are beginning to learn the sanshin music instrument and how to speak uchinaguchi.

The executive director of the Next Generation Project 23-year-old Minami Tamamoto, said, “I think that the inheritance of identity can only be achieved through actual exchange, not just by citing it as an issue. We will do our best to expand such exchange.”
The project team has been sending message flags about the Uchinanchu Festival to young Okinawans and people of Okinawan descent in foreign countries who are unable to attend the Uchinanchu Festival. They have received a reply from Bolivia.
The Next Generation Project will hold the Minifestival for Uchinanchu, at 11:00am on August 28, at the students’ hall of the Ryukyu University.

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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