Kin celebrates the “Forefather of Emigration,” Kyuzo Toyama

Kin celebrates the “Forefather of Emigration,” Kyuzo Toyama

Residents hold the Kin flag in a procession to celebrate Toyama’s 150th birthday on the evening of October 14.

October 15, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo

The town of Kin celebrated the 150th birthday of Kyuzo Toyama (1868–1910), the “forefather of emigration,” on October 14, attracting many residents and out-of-town visitors. In Toyama’s day, Kin’s resilient town spirit had successfully delivered an emigration program while overcoming difficulties; as a tribute, the Kin residents organized a large-scale procession and a play portraying the life of Toyama to reaffirm its commitment to pass down this spirit to the next generation.

Born in Namizato, Kinmagiri (current day Namizato, Kin) in 1868, Toyama sent 30 of the first Okinawan emigrants to Hawaii in 1899. Many have since followed suit. The emigrants, in turn, sent back generous donations to help their devastated hometown after the war, which kickstarted the recovery.

A ceremony also took place at dondan-gwa (current day Kin, Kin), which was the departure point for Okinawan emigrants. There, the five districts that comprise Kin put on karate and shishimai (lion dance) performances, adding excitement to the festivities.

“I didn’t know Okinawan emigration began in Kin. It’s inspired me to take on new challenges,” said Yuki Kinjo, 28, who visited from Ginoza with friends.

(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)

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