Book on the history of Maejima Island published

Book on the history of Maejima Island published

On May 24 at Naha Tomari Port. Fumio Nakamura published the first book on Maejima Island, Hand on to the Next Generation - Megirama.

June 3, Hideaki Yoneda, correspondent of the Ryukyu Shimpo

Fumio Nakamura, who currently lives on Maejima Island, which comes under the administrative authority of Tokashiki Island and is located about 25 kilometers west of Naha, published a book entitled Hand on to the Next GenerationMegirama, about the history and lives of people on Maejima, his home island. Nakamura is the head of the residents’ association for restoring Maejima. The book includes information on events, local flora and fauna, folk stories and details of place names, a map and shop names, as well as the genealogy of Maejima.
The book is printed in B5 format (182mm x 257mm) and is 128 pages.

Nakamura thought that he did not want the island’s long history, which his ancestors helped shape, to be lost. He wrote it based on interviews with elders from the island carried out in a period spanning more than 25 years while he was working.

Nakamura said, “I will be happy if the people of Maejima and their descendants are able to use this book as a document passed down through the generations because there are few records available on the history of Maejima Island.”

After the war, more than 100 people including demobilized soldiers and returnees to the island from places overseas including South Pacific Islands added to the number of residents on Maejima. The population of the island expanded to 380, but then damage to houses caused by a string of powerful typhoons caused hardships such as food shortages, forcing the people to leave the island one after the other. The last four families went to live in Naha in February 1962 and Maejima Elementary and Secondary Schools were closed. With this the island became uninhabited.

Nakamura was born in Chuuk, an island group in the southwestern part of the Pacific Ocean. He moved back to Maejima, where his father is from, at the age of four, and when he was 14 years old he moved to Naha as part of a group-relocation.

Because Nakamura could not let go of the memories of his home island, to which he still felt very attached, he and his wife relocated to Maejima in 2003 after he retired to help restore the island, which by then had in effect become uninhabited. With this, Maejima became inhabited for the first time in 42 years and became the 40th inhabited island in Okinawa Prefecture. Four people have now registered their residency on Maejima – Nakamura, his wife and son, and a friend.

The book sells for 1000 yen. For further details, call Nakamura at 098 (8290) 6361.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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