Third-generation Okinawan Hawaiian delighted to meet his relatives

Third-generation Okinawan Hawaiian delighted to meet his relatives

On March 28 at Furugen in Yomitan Village, Chris and his wife (front center), meet their relative Sadao China (front right).

April 2, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

A third generation Okinawan from Hawaii has been getting to know his local relatives. Chris Chitose China met his second cousin 73-year-old Sadao for the first time in Yomitan on March 28. Chris’s grandfather and Sadao’s grandfather were brothers.

Chris and his wife Shaleen Takeko visited Okinawa to research his family tree. Chris said, “We are proud that we have a connection to Okinawa.”

They decided to visit after listening to stories from Chris’s brother who came here last year. He was the one who first discovered the family’s connection to Yomitan. Chris decided to follow in his brother’s footsteps and came to Okinawa to learn more about his roots. While here, he has discovered the China family tradition to insert the kanji “定” into the names of all the male children. He also saw took time to examine the family tree.

Chris said, “Because my last name looks like it might be pronounced ‘China’ in English, even though it is actually pronounced ‘Che-na’, I was told that my name might have originally come from China. I am so proud that I have roots in Okinawa and I am so happy to able to meet so many of my relatives during this visit.” Shaleen also has Japanese roots. Her ancestors are from Fukuoka Prefecture. She said, “Our eight-month-old grandchild’s middle name is Teijun. I am happy that I learned the origin of his name and our connection to the family in Okinawa.”

Sadao welcomed Chris and Shaleen with Okinawan food and said, “I remembered when I met Chris’s grandfather. It was very nice to hear stories of Hawaii and Okinawa.”

(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)

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