Monument for the 100th year of Okinawan immigration to Brazil unveiled
August 15, 2014 Masaaki Umeda of the Ryukyu Shimpo
On August 13, an unveiling ceremony for a monument to commemorate the 100th year of Okinawan immigration was held in Campo Grande City, Brazil. The monument is 180 centimeters in width and 250 centimeters in height. The monument was built at a park in an area where Okinawans migrated for railroad construction work 100 years ago. About 60 people from a group visiting from Okinawa, including Vice Governor Kurayoshi Takara and Okinawan migrants from neighboring countries, took part in the unveiling ceremony. On August 14, a ceremony for the 100th anniversary of immigration will be held.
In 1908, an immigrant ship Kasadomaru arrived in Brazil and Okinawan migrant workers engaged in the construction work of a railroad from Sao Paulo to Campo Grande. From 1914, Okinawans began settling in Campo Grande.
At the ceremony, Vice Governor Takara made a speech, saying, “Thanks to 100 years of effort, Okinawans are now accepted in the Brazilian society. I would like to express thanks to our forerunners.” The president of the Campo Grande Okinawan Association Kiyoshi Nilton Shirado said, “If there was no contact with Japan, we would all become Brazilian-only within the next 100 years. We would like to stay in touch with Japan.”
(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)
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