Play about fourth-generation Okinawan in Hawaii released

Play about fourth-generation Okinawan in Hawaii released

Members of UchinaAloha and Lee Tonouchi (third from the left in the back row)

September 5, 2016 Hanae Gushiken Higa Correspondent of Ryukyu Shimpo

From August 25 to October 2, a play titled “UchinaAloha” by Okinawan playwright Lee Tonouchi will be performed at Kumu Kahua Theater in Honolulu.

According to Tonouchi’s description of the play, the protagonist is a fourth-generation “Local” Okinawan and college drop out who grew up in Hawaii David Yonamine. It was his mother’s wish that he would “learn how to play sanshin from his grandfather.” However, David is not amenable to the idea and has mixed feelings. One day, David meets an exchange student from Okinawa, Maria Ginoza.

Lee Tonouchi is a fourth generation Okinawan. When his uncle Mac Yonamine used lament to Lee that he no longer hears Uchinaguchi in Okinawa, Lee did not care so much. However, when Lee participated in a class called “Shimakutuba” taught by Professor Masahide Ishihara at the University of the Ryukyus in September 2012, he learned that Uchinaguchi is endangered. Impressed by a passionate lecture, Lee wrote UchinaAloha.

In the production, David plays “Mensore Hawaii” with Sanlele (an instrument that combines sanshin and ukulele). This music was composed by world famous ukulele player Jake Shimabukuro, who is a fifth generation Okinawan.

(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)

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