“Odori” – novel depicting the spirit of Okinawa

“Odori” - novel depicting the spirit of Okinawa

Dacy Tamayose is the author of a novel about the life of her mother, Naoko Tamayose (on the left). Taken at a hotel in Lethbridge City, Canada in the afternoon of June 2.

June 5, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

Fifty-one year-old Dacy Tamayose, a second generation Okinawan-Canadian residing in Lethbridge City, Canada, has written a novel about the life of her mother, 76 year-old Naoko Tamayose, describing the legacy of the Okinawan spirit and how it seeks peace and beauty. Naoko Tamayose lived through the Battle of Okinawa before emigrating to Canada, where she devoted herself to the study of Ryukyuan dance. After learning Ryukyuan dance from her mother, and visiting Okinawa, Dacy Tamayose started to think about conveying the spirit of Okinawa and in 2007 published the novel “Odori.”
Dacy indicated that she would like to continue writing, saying, “I would really like to write a novel about some aspect of Okinawa.”

She is interested in how the Canadian-Okinawan community, which immigrants to Canada created, learned about Okinawan culture and inherited its spirit.
She was moved by the spirit and culture of Okinawa, then she visited her mother’s hometown of Hamahigajima (Uruma City), talked to relatives and went around the old battle sites in Itoman City. Her interest was further stimulated when she found the name of her aunt on the Shiraume Memorial.

“Odori,” a novel written by Dacy Tamayose.

Dacy said, “I have studied Ryukyuan dance. For me, the spirit and culture of Okinawa are important.”

In the novel entitled “Odori,” a third generation Canadian-Okinawan woman has a car accident in Canada in 1999. As she hovers between life and death, her great-grandmother appears in front of her eyes, telling her about the history of her family.
The novel depicts experiences in the Battle of Okinawa and the spirit of Ryukyuan dance.

Tears came to her mother Naoko’s eyes when she read the book. She said, “I experienced the war when I was nine-years old. My experiences fleeing from cave to cave were so frightening that I still cannot forget them. The scenes described in the novel stood out in my memory.”

Yoshitaka Kinjo, the head of Lethbridge Okinawa Cultural Society commented, “Dacy is keenly aware of her Uchinanchu heritage and she possesses great sensitivity. Her novel has been widely read, not only by the Canadians of Okinawan heritage, but also by many people in mainstream Canadian society, which is made up mainly of immigrants.”

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)


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