Okinawan Women’s Association of Peru holds respect-for-the-aged ceremony for 600 people
June 18, 2012 Mitsuhiro Akamine, correspondent of Ryukyu Shimpo
In the afternoon of June 2, at the Junji Nishime Kenjin-Kai Hall in Lima, Peru, the Association for Okinawan Women of Peru held its annual respect-for-the-aged ceremony, to which it invited almost 600 elderly people over 75 years of age. At the ceremony, from the Japanese Embassy there was the Consul Shigeru Iida and his wife, acting chairperson of the Japanese Association of Peru (JAP) Munetaka Ganaha, chairperson of the Japanese Women’s Association of Peru, Olga Oka, chairman of the Peru Okinawa Kenjin-Kai, Luis Takahara, and representatives of each of the municipalities of Peru.
The ceremony began with an opening address by the secretary general, Ruth Ige. After the singing of the song of the Association for Okinawan Women of Peru, the chairperson of the association Elena Ishimatsu greeted everyone, saying that the Japanese community that was established the hard way by the guests invited to the ceremony has passed on an approach that respects the elderly. The guests applauded and a stir rippled through the hall when Ishimatsu said in Uchinaguchi, “Ichimaden do ganjusashi nagaichi shimisori (I extend to you best wishes for a long and healthy life).”
After that, the chairman of the Kenjin-Kai, Luis Takahara, the chairperson of the JWAP Olga Oka, and the chairman of the JAP, Munetaka Ganaha, also gave speeches celebrating the guests’ longevity.
At the gathering, 104 year-old Zenson Nakahodo from Uruma, 103 year-old Choki Zukeran from Nanjo, 101 year-old Tsuyo Toyama from Okinawa City, 100 year-old Zenko Tamaki from Motobu, and other centegenerians received gifts and bouquets from Elena Ishimatsu.
On behalf of the elderly guests, Yoshikazu Oyakawa, an adviser to the Kenjin-Kai, thanked the Association for Okinawan Women for organizing the function and Consul Shigeru Iida proposed a toast to bring the ceremony to a close. The participants enjoyed the food that the Association for Okinawan Women had prepared, and the performances such as Ryukyuan dance, songs, sanshin, and karaoke.
(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)
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