Six hundred people gather to congratulate Okinawan immigrants on 110 years in Peru

Six hundred people gather to congratulate Okinawan immigrants on 110 years in Peru

On August 28 in Lima, Governor Onaga (center back row) confers letters of appreciation to (front row left to right) Ota, Ueda, Nakahodo, and Higa. (Photograph provided by the Okinawan Association of Peru)

August 30, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

On August 28 (August 29 Japan time), a 110-year commemorative ceremony for Okinawans who immigrated to Peru opened at the Okinawan Association of Peru Center in Lima, Peru. About 600 people of Okinawan heritage attended the ceremony.

Governor of Okinawa Takeshi Onaga participated in the ceremony and shared some words thanking Okinawan pioneers’ hard work in establishing a community in Peru. He said, “You overcame obstacles with a persistent spirit, developing today’s Okinawan community and building its position.” In addition, he praised Okinawan immigrants that their contributions to the development of Peru make Okinawans in the prefecture proud.

Onaga awarded letters of appreciation to each of four Okinawans who emigrated over 100 years ago and their family members. The four who immigrated to Peru over 100 years ago are 108-year-old Zenson Nakahodo of Uruma City, 102-year-old Haru Ueda of Uruma City, 102-year-old Matsu Miyagi of Ogimi Village, and 102-year-old Shugen Ota of Motobu Town.

Chairman of the Okinawan Association of Peru Arturo Yara and 93-year-old Kisei Higa from Kitanakagusuku Village accepted letters of appreciation on behalf of the 80 Okinawans who immigrated to Peru over 90 years ago.

After these letters were conferred, Onaga encouraged attendees of the ceremony to come to the 6th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival that will be held in October. He said that Okinawans are altogether waiting with open arms to receive many participants.

A stage was set up outside of the Center especially for commemorative performances. As part of the Kaiho Yoshu Network Building Program, five high school students and five university students from Okinawa came to Peru to help members of the Association run the ceremony and commemorative performances. More than 2000 people gathered by the stage to enjoy Okinawan traditional arts and various performances.

(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)

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