Brazil Okinawa Kenjin-Kai celebrates 85th anniversary by honoring forerunners’ efforts

Brazil Okinawa <em>Kenjin-Kai</em> celebrates 85th anniversary by honoring forerunners’ efforts

Matsu Uechi (107 years old) was presented with a certificate of commendation by Vice Governor of Okinawa, Yoshiyuki Uehara, at the celebration commemorating the 85th anniversary of the Brazil Okinawa Kenjin-Kai, Sao Paulo, Brazil.


August 29, 2011 Hisao Miyagi of Ryukyu Shimpo, Sao Paulo, Brazil

The Brazil Okinawa Kenjin-Kai celebrated the 85th anniversary of its founding with about 700 people of Okinawan origin attending at the Kenjin-Kai Hall in Sao Paulo City, Brazil, on August 27 local time. The participants paid tribute to their forerunners’ achievements and vowed to convey their Uchinanchu spirit to the next generation.

The Brazilian side was represented by Shinji Yonamine, Chairman of the Okinawa Kenjin-Kai and Kazuaki Ohbe, Japanese Consul in Sao Paulo, and the Okinawan side by Yoshiyuki Uehara, Prefectural Vice Governor; Toshiyasu Shiroma, Chairman of the Okinawa Municipalities Association and Mayor of Haebaru Town with many others in attendance.

Yonamine said, “More than 10000 immigrants from Okinawa moved to Brazil after the war. They worked together with their forerunners who had moved here before the war to build the foundations of the Brazilian Okinawan community. We would like to convey our respect and gratitude to our predecessors for their achievements.”

Vice Governor Uehara presented a certificate of commendation to 107 year-old Matsu Uechi, who moved to Brazil from Nago City, in 1924. She was delighted to receive the recognition, saying, “That I have been able to live here for such a long time is thanks to my family members and everyone around us.”
Four other men and women over 100 years old and 43 people over 90 years old but under 100 years old were awarded certificates of commendation by the Okinawa Prefectural Government.

At the celebration party with its entertainment, attractions and performances, the members of the Okinawa Prefectural South America Caravan, the Brazil branch of Ryukyu Matsuri Daiko and the Eisa section of the Lequios Performing Arts Club performed the Eisa dance parade. To close the event, all the participants and the performers formed a kachashi dance circle through the venue.

Three hundred and twenty-five people landed in Brazil from Okinawa on board the Kasado-maru, in June 1908. From that time on, Kenjin-Kai organizations were established throughout Brazil, with their united body, the Kyuyo-Kai, the predecessor of the Brazil Okinawa Kenjin-Kai, being founded in 1926.

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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