3,000 people commemorate 60th anniversary of Amami reversion

3,000 people commemorate 60th anniversary of Amami reversion

In the evening of December 25, people marched throughout Amami City with lanterns to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Amami Island's reversion to Japanese administration.

December 26, 2013 Yoshiki Nagahama of Ryukyu Shimpo

On December 25, the Amami City Memorial Event Executive Committee commemorated the 60th anniversary of the reversion of the Amami Islands to Japanese administration. There were speeches by youth groups from each region and performances by artists from Amami such as Chitose Hajime and Kosuke Atari. The people who gathered at Naze Elementary School in Amami City, Kagoshima Prefecture cast their minds back to the efforts of those who contributed to the island’s reversion.

According to the organizers, around 3,000 people gathered for the event on Amami Oshima, which has a population of 65,000.

From children to the elderly, many people came to the venue where the smell of smoke from the bonfire drifted through the air. Participants raised national flags and banners to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the reversion. Elementary school pupils brightened the venue with about 1,000 lanterns bearing messages such as “Congratulations on the 60th anniversary!” “Go for it Japan!”

Shingo Nashiro, head of the Tokunoshima Town Association Youth League, delivered a speech on behalf of youth groups. He said, “We will not forget how those before us came together to make history for our islands.”

On stage, Chitose Hajime said, “I would like to offer a song of gratitude to our ancestors,” and sang a song called “Kataritsugu koto.”

Fifty-eight-year-old Akemi Oda, a nurse from Amami City, said, “Ten years ago I heard from a patient of mine that people who went to Tokyo brought back Japanese textbooks for young people.” She went on to say, “I would like to pass on their passion.”

Just like the lantern parade held 60 years ago, people marched through the town with lanterns to celebrate the reversion. Michiko Tamotsu, who is from Amami City and currently lives in Naha City, returned home for the day. She joined in the parade and said, “We have our current life thanks to the efforts of our parents and grandparents. We need to learn our history.”

(English translation by T&CT, Megumi Chibana and Mark Ealey)

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