Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival preparations underway; committee quadruples membership to 20

Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival preparations underway; committee quadruples membership to 20

Kiyomi Miyagi, executive director of the Seventh Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival (front row, fifth from left), and Lisa Yamauchi, Portuguese interpreter (front row, third from left) pose for a photo at the Okinawa Prefectural Office on April 14, 2022.

April 15, 2022 Ryukyu Shimpo

By Kenta Masuda


The Seventh Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival will be held this fall, after a one-year postponement related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The festival’s executive committee secretariat which comprised five staff members until March quadrupled to 20 including interpreters, and its office is now 2.3 times its original size. The “hybrid” festival is scheduled to be held October 30-November 3, 2022, with both on-site and online components.

The Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival spawned from a Ryukyu Shimpo column in 1990 and has since been held every five years. The event has grown to attract people from around the world with ties to Okinawa. This year’s festival was originally slated for 2021 but was postponed due to COVID-related travel restrictions.

A total of five (Spanish, English, Slovakian, and two Portuguese) interpreters and translators have joined the festival committee secretariat. The men and women have diverse experiences and professional backgrounds; one, for example, is a flight attendant. Lisa Yamanouchi, 51, born and raised in Brazil, has over 15 years of professional experience working at consulates in various countries. She commented, “You must understand the culture to be a good interpreter. I am currently studying the rich history and culture of Okinawa.” Yamanouchi is also learning Uchinaguchi, the Okinawan dialect.

While challenges related to international travel persist, festival planners anticipate domestic kenjinkai (association of prefectural immigrants and descendants) members and locals to visit and selected the Okinawa Cellular Stadium Naha in Ohnoyama, Naha City, for the main venue. Virtual components will also be offered to hedge against the impacts of the pandemic. Kiyomi Miyagi, the executive director, said, “We hope to affirm the significance and strength of the Uchina (Okinawan) network through this event.”


(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)



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