Woman who survived the war and postwar eras performs “kajimaya” celebration for 97 years of life in Zamami, an island of 600

Woman who survived the war and postwar eras performs “kajimaya” celebration for 97 years of life in Zamami, an island of 600

Ume Miyahira riding in an open-top car with her granddaughter and smiling, on April 28, at the parking lot in front of Miyahira’s house in Zamami

May 6, 2019 Ryukyu Shimpo

(Zamami) On April 28, a “kajimaya” celebration to celebrate 97 years of life and a “michi-june” parade were held in Zamami.

Ume Miyahira, age 96, of Zamami was the protagonist of the kajimaya celebration. She was born on March 14, 1923.

Miyahira rode from her home through the village in a brilliantly decorated open-top car with her relatives and neighbors.

Passersby who heard the music started dancing kachashi and shared in her celebration of long life.

Miyahira was born on Aka Island.

She moved to Zamami for marriage after the war at her parents’ advice.

At the time, Zamami Island was wartorn and she and her husband had no house, so they gathered logs from the valley and built their own house from the ground up.

There was no food, either, so the two of them rowed a sabani fishing boat to Aka Island to get food there.

On the day of the celebration, Miyahira’s family held a kajimaya celebration event at the Zamami Outlying Island Promotion Center.

The event was held with the support of the Zamami Village Office, the local youth group, and the Day Service Zamami Kaisei Center.

People from Okinawa Island and Aka Island and locals gathered to offer their congratulations and celebrate kajimaya with dance and song.

Participants do a kachashi dance to the music of sanshin at the “michi-june” parade in Zamami

“She broke a bone for the second time at the end of last year, but the strength she gained from experiencing the tumultuous period during and after the war helped her remain lively and not be set back by broken bones.

Her secret to maintaining vitality is talking a lot,” said Miyahira’s daughter, Junko Teruya, age 66.

Teruya says her mother now reflects on her youth and hopes that the people of the world will get along and not make war.

Miyahira spends her days at a day center for the elderly and enjoys her time there greatly.

It seems the secret to longevity is to enjoy life while also facing the past.

(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)

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