5th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival attracts a record 7363 participants from outside Okinawa, including 5317 from abroad

December 6, 2011 Tsuyoshi Arakaki of Ryukyu Shimpo

The 5th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival Executive Committee announced that the official number of participants from outside Okinawa who attended the festival in October was 7363, an increase of more than 2400 people, or 1.5 times the number who attended the previous festival in 2006. The number includes 5317 people from abroad, an increase of 924 people over 2006. Both of these numbers were the highest to date. Although many people of Okinawan descent living abroad were concerned about radioactive pollution following the accident in March at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, people came to understand that one of the aims of the festival was to support those affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, and this resulted in an increase in the number of participants.

“Helping someone when they are in really in need – this is the way it is in Okinawa. I also sense chimugukuru at work here (trans: Doing a good deed without expecting anything in return). In 2001, people talked of calling off that year’s festival because of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, but we got through that and made a success of it,” said festival organizer Hajime Terukina as he thanked those people of Okinawan descent who came.

At the 5th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival held over four days from October 13 mainly at the Okinawa Cellular Studium Naha the commitment was reaffirmed to pass on and promote the Uchina network and Uchina identity to the young generation.

(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)

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