300 people attend the opening ceremony of the Okinawan House built in New Caledonia
November 13, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo
On November 12, the opening ceremony of the “Maison de Okinawa” (Okinawan House), a facility with an assembly room and exhibition hall for the New Caledonia Okinawa Kenjinkai (Nouvelle Caledonie Descendants D’Okinawa), was held at Poindimie City in New Caledonia.
About 300 people, including Marie-Jose Michel, the Honorary Consul of Japan, and Paul Neaoutyne, the Poindimie City Mayor and Governor of the Northern Region attended the ceremony. They celebrated the completion of the complex, which will be used by people of Okinawan descent both as a place for relaxation and as a center for creating a closer relationship between New Caledonia and Okinawa.
A former president of the Okinawan Japanese Community Association of New Caledonia, 58 year-old Jean-Pierre Zenkuro, who is san-sei (third-generation Okinawan) and whose grandfather was from Nago, suggested that they establish the Okinawan House and provided the land to build it on. He has pushed ahead with the preparation of the facility, which is intended to deepen friendship and boost exchanges with Okinawan people.
Yvan Obry who is the president of the New Caledonia Okinawa Kenjinkai gave a speech at the opening ceremony, saying, “I hope that everyone will look after the facility and make good use of it for the sake of friendship.” Takeshi Miki, the president of Okinawa-New Caledonia Friendship Association stated, “The meaning of ‘Okinawa’ of ‘Okinawan House’ also means ‘Ookina-wa’ (‘large circle’) in Japanese. Let’s try to expand our circle of friendship.” He also went on to read out messages from Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima and Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine.
At the opening ceremony, Mayor Neaoutyne, President Obry and President Miki cut the tape, and the local residents provided entertainment including a Tahitian dance. A photo exhibition of the 5th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival attracted the attention of the participants.
Zenkuro who attended the opening ceremony said, “I am very pleased that the Okinawan House has been constructed on the land that we put aside for it.”
(English Translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)
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