Executive Committee to honor seven brave Hawaiian Uchinanchu who transported 550 pigs to their homeland following the devastation of war

Executive Committee to honor seven brave Hawaiian <em>Uchinanchu</em> who transported 550 pigs to their homeland following the devastation of war

Seven members of Okinawa origin Hawaiian who brought pigs to Okinawa, are from the left in the front row: Ushikichi Nakama, Yoshio Yamashiro, Shohei Miyasato, Genbi Tonaki and Yasuo Uezu (bottom right), from left in the back row: Shinsuke Nakamine (public relations for the Hawaii Rengo Okinawan Kyusaikai), Zensuke Kinjo (secretary), Shinei Shimabukuro, Ryoshin Agena, 1948.

October 8, 2011 Tsuyoshi Arakaki of Ryukyu Shimpo

The Executive Committee of the 5th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival will formally recognize the efforts of seven brave people of Okinawan origin who brought 550 pigs for Okinawan people suffering from severe food shortages in 1948. On October 13, at the opening ceremony of the festival, the committee invited their families to come, and will present them with certificates of appreciation and commemorative gifts or items of Ryukyuan craft. Two family members are confirmed to be participating in the ceremony and five others are yet to be confirmed. The committee will send the commemorative items by mail to those who not able to visit here. A representative of the committee said, “We consider their achievements to be an essential piece of the history of the Worldwide Uchinanchu network. We must not let this be watered down by the passage of time.”

The presentation will be held at the beginning of the photo exhibition, “Pigs came from the Sea” (Umi Kara Buta ga Yatte Kita), a festival-related event to be held in a special hall for the “Migration Documents and Materials Exhibition for the Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival” at the Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum in Naha City, at 10:00am on October13.

The last survivor of the seven brave Okinawans was Yasuo Uezu, who passed away on July 20 at the age of 91. In August, at the general meeting of planning committee for the festival, the Okinawa-Hawaii Association proposed that we demonstrate our appreciation of their achievements. Then, the members of the committee made every effort to collect contributions to cover the cost of travel for the relatives.
Pork-industry related companies and organizations such as Okinawa Ham, the Association for Hog Raising, Okinawa Prefectural Livestock Industry Promotion Foundation, Ganaha Husbandry, Ryukyu Kyodo Feed Mfg., Naha Meat, Okinawa Hormel and Okinawa Prefectural Feed Manufacturers Cooperative Union provided a total of two million yen in response to the request from the committee.

The seven people who brought the pigs to Okinawa were Uezu, Yoshio Yamashiro, Genbi Tonaki, Ushikichi Nakama, Shinei Shimabukuro, Shohei Miyasato and Ryoshin Agena. They purchased pigs on mainland United States and chartered a U.S. military transport ship to get the pigs to Okinawa. They then risked their own lives to deliver them to the people of Okinawa, sailing through stormy weather and through floating mines placed by Japanese military during the war. In addition to this brave act of kindness, many people of Okinawan origin living in North and South America, and other countries, shipped large amounts of various supplies to the people of Okinawa.

Hidenobu Chinen, secretary-general of the executive committee of the 5th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival said, “We would like to thank the many companies that contributed to raising funds for this initiative.”

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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