Okinawa kenjinkai launched in India to promote “Uchinanchu Spirit.”
October 14, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo
By Masatoshi Inafuku
On October 8, nine people from Okinawa established the “India Okinawa Kenjinkai” in India, where there was previously kenjinkai group. At “the First India Okinawa Kenjinkai,” which was held in Gurgaon, near Delhi, the Kenjinkai members pledged to embody Uchinanchu spirits of “Ichariba chode,” “Yuimaru,” and “Bankoku shinryo” and to promote and preserve Okinawan culture in India.
Momoyo Nakazato from Urasoe City, who is a teacher, was appointed as president. Members include Yasushi Shinzato, who is also a teacher, and his family members Isono, Koharu, and Etsu from Naha City, Yumeno Higa from Kitanakagusuku, who works at a government organization, Kanefumi Kina from Naha City, who works in manufacturing, Naoki Fukuda from Nagasaki Prefecture, who lived in Miyakojima City for two years, and Ayako Ueno from Kagoshima Prefecture, who has a brother living in Okinawa.
In India, where Japanese business has been successful, other prefectures have set up kenjinkai and have been actively engaged in group activities. When Nakazato was thinking of setting up an Okinawa kenjinkai, she connected with Kina, who will participate in the Sixth Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival from India, and made contacts with Okinawans dotted around India.
At the first kenjinkai, members played and sang “Asatoya yunta” and “Shimanchu nu takara” with sanshin. Members shared their feelings about Okinawa, with one of them saying, “My children listen to BEGIN’s songs every day and cry.” Another member said, “I am re-learning Okinawan culture again after moving to India.”
President Nakazato said, “We live far away, but there is no difference in the feeling of loving Okinawa. In India, which is not a convenient place to live, mutual help and connection are important. Keeping ‘Ichariba chode’ in mind, I hope to improve life in India with the kenjinkai members.”
The kenjinkai will march in a parade at the pre-event for the Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival on the 26th with Indians in Okinawa and people who have connections with India. Kina, who wanted to participate in the festival, will perform a traditional Indian prayer ceremony, “Puja”, at the parade. He said, “I would like to pray for the peace and prosperity of Okinawa, India, and the world.”
(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)
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