“We love Koza” – people come together in former GI town

On February 7, fans of Koza from both inside and outside Okinawa gathered in Gate Street in front of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa City.


February 18, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

On February 7, Koza-loving people participated in the Second World Kozanchu Festival, held in Gate Street in front of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa City, which until April 1, 1974 was actually known as Koza City. Kozanchu (people of Koza) came together in the streets of Koza, with many participants enjoying the night in the unique Koza atmosphere, tasting a diverse range of ethnic foods and drinks such as apple gratin, spareribs and awamori, against a backdrop of music such as samba.

This event is running in conjunction with the Okinawa Champloo Exposition being held in Okinawa City through until March 11. The groups involved aim to inject new energy into the city through events that make use of local cultural and historical resources. This year, the members of the Festival Executive Committee of Toyonaka City, Osaka, and the students of Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Oita Prefecture also took part in the Kozanchu Festival. Okinawa City has a sister-city relationship with Toyonaka. The Board of Gate Street awarded certificates of status as Kozanchu to participants from outside the prefecture.

Kaori Matsumoto a student of Ritsumeikan University said, “We enjoyed some delicious food in a relaxing atmosphere. It was a lot of fun. Before I came to Koza, I imagined that the city would be filled with examples of anti-American sentiment, so I was surprised that local people have made use of the American aspects of the place to its advantage.”

Satoru Miyagi, a 51 year-old Kozanchu said, “It’s exciting that many people from inside and outside the prefecture enjoyed each other’s company in Koza. We want to increase the number of Koza fans.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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