Nago Mayor swears to end Henoko issue at first sunrise of 2015

Nago Mayor swears to end Henoko issue at first sunrise of 2015

Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine and citizens enjoy Kachashi dance at the first sunrise of 2015, at Matsudanuhama beach in Henoko, Nago.

January 3, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

On January 1, about 200 people gathered at Matsuda Nuhama beach in Henoko, Nago, where the governments of Japan and the United States plan to construct a replacement base for U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, to watch the first sunrise of 2015. Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine and other participants made offerings for the first sunrise. The mayor said, “I will end the Henoko issue this year.”

At 7 a.m., when the light of the sun illuminated sandy beach and clouds, the participants joined their hands in prayer toward the morning sun. Citizens who are opposingthe construction of the new base performed Kagiyadefu, Tinsagu nu hana and other Ryukyu Classical music and folk songs to celebrate the New Year. At the end of the ceremony, all the participants enjoyed Kachashi dance.

Eiji Shimabukuro (third from right), a holder of the Important Intangible Cultural Property Kumiodori and his colleague musicians perform while watching the first sunrise on January 1, Henoko, Nago.

The mayor smiled as he spoke to the participants in Okinawan dialect, “A good new year.” “2014 was the year when your will and effort blossomed in the elections, starting from Nago mayoral race and ending in the election of the House of Representatives. We want the year of 2015 to become the year when the flowers will bear fruits. I will end the Henoko issue. So shall we go forward together, side by side?” he asked the participants.

Rie Yogi, who took part in the gathering from Nakagusuku with her one-year-old son Ryota, said, “Here is a very beautiful beach, which remains still in its natural state. I would like to leave it for my son and future generations. This feeling has become strong in my mind.”

Artists perform to wish peaceful year
At the gathering, Eiji Shimabukuro, 72, who is a holder of Kumiodori, designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Property by the government, performed Kagiyadefu to wish for a peaceful year. He is the nephew-in-law of Fumiko Shimabukuro, an elder sit-in leaders against the new base construction. Eiji said, “I was moved singing in front of the clean sea. I want to leave it to the next generations.”

Eiji Shimabukuro has taken part in the sit-in protest three times. He supported Inamine’s stance against the new U.S. air base in the mayoral election. After he played sanshin and songs, he said, “I boil over with rage thinking that nature will be destroyed to build a base. We should not permit such wonderful sea to be bought with money. ”

Yoshiyasu Iha, an activist against the new U.S. base, asked his acquaintances and friends to take part in this music event.

(English translation by T&CT)

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