Symposium on right to self-determination for Ainu and Ryukyuan
February 8, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo
The Uruma-no-Kai held a symposium on the right of self-determination for Ainu and Ryukyuans at Okinawa International University in Ginowan on February 7. This group aims to strengthen solidarity with the Ainu people and is involved with planning an annual “Northern Territories Day”, which is on February 7. About 30 people took part in the symposium.
Panelist Tsuyosh Arakaki, a member of the Ryukyu Shimpo editorial board, spoke out about his ideas on self-determination for the Okinawan people. He gave a brief on the Scottish independence referendum held last year, showing photographs he took. “I think the people ‘s conscious ethnic identity is under the strong pressure of discrimination and forced assimilation,” he stated.
Takamatsu Gushiken, the president of the Gamafuya, a volunteer group dedicated to the recovery of human remains from the Battle of Okinawa, referred to the former practice of taking the bones of Okinawan and Ainu people out from their graves and preserving them for research purposes. “This shows the mainland people’s indifference to the Okinawa and Ainu people, that they thought such action against the Okinawan and Ainu people was permissible,” Gushiken said.
Kawamura Shinritsu Eoripakku Ainu, the director of the Kawamura Kaneto Ainu Museum in Asahikawa, and folk musician Shinya Mayonoka took part in the symposium as panelists.
(English translation by T&CT)
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