Four Okinawan people teach disaster prevention in Jamaica via reggae music and dance

Four Okinawan people teach disaster prevention in Jamaica via reggae music and dance

Ivan (center) holding a microphone and getting students and faculty excited while Hideichiro Nakamura (far right) watches over at the Boundbrook Primary School located in the Portland parish in Jamaica (photograph provided by Nakamura)

May 20, 2019 Ryukyu Shimpo
By Yoshiki Nagahama

Four people originally from Okinawa gathered in Portland parish in Jamaica and successfully carried out an educational class for disaster prevention via dance. Reggae dancer Ivan, originally from Ginowan, livened up more than 150 students and faculty at the parish’s Boundbrook Primary School through his choreographed “Disaster Prevention Dance.” Through dance, he deepened people’s knowledge about disasters.

The activity was put together by 31-year-old Hideichiro Nakamura originally from Nakagusuku Village. Nakamura has been taking part in disaster prevention education in Jamaica since last January as Japan International Cooperation Agency’s (JICA) Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer (JOCV). In addition, 28-year-old Haruna Higa of the Embassy of Japan in Jamaica from Naha handled the advertising, while photographer Ryuichi Ishikawa from Ginowan recorded the event.

According to Nakamura, since Jamaica does not experience many earthquakes and tsunamis, some children were not even aware of their existence. They enjoyed learning the rippling moves of a tsunami and the ground shaking moves of an earthquake via dancing to the reggae music the DJ played.

The principal of the school happily said, “The choreography was easy to learn, which made it creative and fun to learn. I’d want them to do this again.” He was also surprised at “how well the Japanese dance reggae (since reggae dance originates from Jamaica).”

Higa reflected on the experience and said, “I think that there are a lot of things that Japan, which has many experiences with disasters, can convey to Jamaica, a fellow island nation. I was honored to have been able to work with three other people with different professions from Okinawa in Jamaica.”

Nakamura said, “I hope that through fun classes, people can proactively heighten their awareness regarding disaster prevention.” He thereby advocated “disaster prevention education that is sustainable” and hopes that this will lead to future opportunities.

(English translation by T&CT and Chelsea Ashimine)

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