Tokashiki celebrates two local women turning 97: Their secret to long life? – Farming

Tokashiki celebrates two local women turning 97: Their secret to long life? – Farming

A commemorative photo of Toshi Komine (right) and Haru Arakaki was taken during the ceremony at the town hall after the parade. (October 14, Tokashiki Town Hall)

October 25, 2021 Ryukyu Shimpo

By Hideaki Yoneda


Tokashiki – October 12 (September 7 on the Lunar Calendar) was Kajimaya (a celebration of elders turning 97 years old by the traditional age system). In Tokashiki, there was a Kajimaya parade on October 14 celebrating the long life of two elders of the community, Haru Arakaki and Toshi Komine.


Arakaki and Komine wore the traditional Kajimaya garb and joined the parade riding in two vans with their families. Locals lined the parade route, holding pinwheels and cheering their longevity. The two elders smiled and waved to the celebrating crowd. After the parade, there was a ceremony at the town hall building where they received a gift of money. Mayor Hidekatsu Zamami presented the money to Arakaki and Komine, saying “You are the pride of our town. May you feel younger and younger and be healthy.” The two also received a commemorative gift from Kazunori Arakaki, the chair of the Tokashiki Council of Social Welfare.

In a normal year, the town would also hold a big party at the town civic center. However, the party was canceled again this year due to the coronavirus.

Arakaki and Komine were both born in Tokashiki in 1925 and grew up in the town. Arakaki had seven children with her late husband Koki, and has 13 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. She lives in the family’s ancestral home with her eldest son Kazunori and his wife. She says the secret to her long life is “farming and enjoying island life.”

Komine is from a long-lived family. Her brother Yasuo Kadomoto also celebrated Kajimaya and lived to be 100 years old. Komine had three children with her late husband Zenjiro, and has six grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. She lives by herself in her family’s ancestral home. She is still an active farmer and goes daily to the field, about one kilometer from her home. When asked about the secret of her long life, she showed off the wax gourds and dragon fruits she harvested this summer, and answered: “enjoying growing fruits and vegetables.”


(English translation by T&CT and Ellen Huntley)


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