“Peace Poetry” initiative to share Okinawan spirit with the world
December 31, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo
Ryukyu Shimpo Culture section’s Yasutake Onaha reports
The Ryukyu Shimpo is starting an initiative to collect poems that reflect aspects of Okinawa’s spiritual culture. Cultural aspects to be included in the poems include the desire for peace symbolized by the words “nuchi du takara (life is a treasure);” the spirit of mutual support contained in the word “yuimaru;” and the Okinawan people’s respect for ancestors and love of nature. The initiative follows Chunichi Shimbun and Tokyo Shimbun newspapers’ “Haikus of peace” initiative. We aim to share a spirit of peace from Okinawa to the rest of Japan and the world.
Uchinanchu (Okinawans) have continually striven for peace while bearing bitter memories of the Battle of Okinawa and facing a heavy burden of U.S. military bases. Uchinanchu have remained strong through the storms wrought by each consecutive generation, uniting to overcome many hardships.
This experience of overcoming hardships has birthed many poems and songs. These poems and songs can be thought of as the spiritual force behind Okinawa’s peace movement. The Ryukyu Shimpo hopes to expand the reach of this peaceful movement by sharing some of these songs and poems in the pages of our newspaper.
How would you express peace in Okinawa? Please send us your poetry. Together, we can build peace through heartfelt expression.
Poems of peace
“Going forward from today
Military bases gone
A peaceful island
That is Okinawa’s wish”
(Takemitsu Maeda, Uruma City)
“The memories of
My 100-year old mother
Over and over again
I listen to stories of the war”
(Yoshiteru Higa, Yaese Town)
“The winter stars
(Ruri Miyayoshi, Naha City)
“Surviving a time of war
A time of peace”
(Katsuyuki Ueda, Naha City)
(Translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)
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