OPG to set up Karate-do Hall in Tomigusuku

OPG to set up Karate-do Hall in Tomigusuku

March 14, 2013 Michiyo Yonamine of Ryukyu Shimpo

The Karate-do Hall Planning Committee has put together a draft plan for the Tomigusuku Castle Park in Tomigusuku to be the construction site of the Karate-do Hall that will become a hub of Okinawan karate. In the near future, Governor Hirokazu Nakaima will decide upon the specific details. To date, in addition to Tomigusuku, the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) had listed Naha, Urasoe, Okinawa City, and Itoman as candidate sites.

The committee took into consideration aspects such as its ease of access from Naha Airport, its historical significance as a home of traditional culture, the proximity of accommodation facilities, and the distance from the Okinawa Prefectural Hall of Martial Arts in Naha, which will be operated in conjunction with the Karate-do Hall. Among other things, they chose Tomigusuku as the location because of the convenient access and the traditional culture heritage of the area.

The park was closed in 2003. Kagoshima-based Iwasaki Sangyo Co., the former operator of the park and current landowner, has agreed to sell it. The Tomigusuku Municipal Government will start talking with the owner about a sales contract after the governor has made his final decision. The OPG will purchase the land with lump-sum subsidies for Okinawa development.

The construction of the Karate-do Hall is one of Governor Nakaima’s pledges made in the gubernatorial election of 2010 and the OPG has promoted it as a project to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Okinawa’s reversion to Japanese sovereignty. On March 7, at a regular meeting of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly, the governor stated that the OPG will decide upon the construction site within fiscal 2012, as well as the schedule of construction, the basic plan of the Karate-do Hall including its scale, contents and administrative plan. The OPG will get to work on the hall design this year.

To begin with, the Okinawa Prefectural Government had planned to choose the construction site by last November but in the end the decision was significantly delayed due to time being taken in the selection process. The government budgeted 48.35 million yen for the basic plan in its initial budget for 2012. In the initial budget for 2013, they included 20 million yen from lump-sum subsidies in order to look into the administration, management and exhibition program. The cost of design will be covered from supplementary budgets.

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

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