Symposium aiming to add Okinawa Karate to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list
October 26, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo
October 25 is designated as “Karate Day” by the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG). The OPG, Prefectural Assembly and the Okinawa Dento Karatedo Shinkokai held a symposium in Naha City for the occasion. About 170 people took part in the symposium. The participants, including karate men and women from within and outside of Okinawa, explored the challenges of adding Okinawa Karate to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
Former TV producer Kiyoshi Ono, who made a work titled The World Heritage Relaxing in TBS program, gave the keynote speech. He highlighted the significance of UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage. Ono said, “In the course of the campaigns for intangible cultural heritage, it is important that both the people involving in karate and ordinary citizens recognize the value of karate.”
Board members of the Okinawa Dento Karatedo Shinkokai and the World Karate Federation, and a karate practitioner from the United Kingdom took part in the panel discussion. They discussed the future prospects of Okinawan karate.
Zenpo Shimabukuro, who chaired Karate Day’s event, said, “Beginners can progress in Karate in a short period of time. You, both young and old, can practice anywhere and anytime. It’s the charm of this sport. I am happy that I have been doing karate because it has provided spiritual support for me.”
Choukou Kiyuna, the chairman of the Shinkokai said in his speech, “We, members of traditional karate and sports karate organizations, will take our hands together to carry out the campaign goal to add Okinawa karate to the list of intangible cultural heritage.”
(English translation by T&CT)
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