The motivation behind Kanehide Group’s Fourth of July ‘freedom’ ads

The motivation behind Kanehide Group’s Fourth of July ‘freedom’ ads

July 8, 2020 Ryukyu Shimpo

“[We are] straight as an arrow, we started out as blacksmiths, afterall.” “Today is Idependence Day. Make the world better today than it was yesterday.”—These newspaper ads were taken out in the Ryukyu Shimpo and the Okinawa Times by the Kanehide Group (chaired by Morimasa Goya), which operates construction, supermarket, steel, and hotel businesses.

The ads in the two papers were not the same, but shared a similar message: protect the freedom and dignity of each individual, regardless of sex, race or ethnicity. It also promised that Kanehide Group will work together with uchinanchus (Okinawans) around the world, and called for a “new era of Okinawa”’ in which “everyone is happy,” whether they be a resident or visitor.

Ads that aim to establish or enhance a company’s image, instead of promoting a product, are often taken out on the company’s founding anniversary, but Kanehide Group was founded on the 25th of May. Why did it publish branding ads on July 4?

The answer to this question can be found in the ads; the two versions printed in the Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times both read: “July 4 is American Independence Day, the day the U.S. won its freedom and dignity. On July 28, the Republic of Peru, where many Okinawan descendants reside, declared its independence from colonial rule.”

Kanehide Group Chair Goya touched on how people around the world are protesting the recent police brutality case in Minnesota, in which an African American man was killed by a white police officer. He then explained the ad placement and said, “On the very day the U.S. won its freedom and dignity, I wanted to ask everyone to recognize and value the human rights of uchinanchu.” He added, “I also want Okinawans to be accepting of diversity of thought.”

Goya is also the honorary consul to the Consulate of Peru in Okinawa.

(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)

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