Konishiki becomes cultural ambassador for Okinawa

Konishiki becomes cultural ambassador for Okinawa

At the Prefectural Government on July 26, Konishiki Yasokichi (on the right in the front row) shows his certificate as cultural ambassador for Uchina.

July 27, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

Okinawa Prefecture has accredited 47 year-old Hawaiian-born Japanese–Samoan former sumo wrestler Konishiki Yasokichi as the 219th cultural ambassador for Uchina (Okinawa). Certification as cultural ambassador for Uchina is granted to people who promote the charms of Okinawa overseas. Vice-governor Yoshiyuki Uehara handed the certificate to Konishiki at the Prefectural Government offices.

Before he retired, Konishiki reached ozeki, the second highest rank in professional sumo divisions.
His first visit to Okinawa was in 1982 as a tsukibito, an attendant of a higher ranked sumo wrestler, but he said that these days he comes to Okinawa several times a year.
Konishiki pointed out that Okinawa and Hawaii have many things in common such as kariyushi wear (the Okinawan version of Hawaiian shirts), and food culture, in which pork and potatoes are often used. He said, “There are many ingredients in Hawaii which are not used in Okinawa. I think it is a waste not to use them here. I hope Okinawa and Hawaii will collaborate on this.”

Uehara praised Konishiki, saying, “I would like Konishiki-san to keep passing on information about Okinawa.”

Konishiki indicated his support for the holding of a music festival between Okinawa and Hawaii and his desire to participate in the 5th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival, which is scheduled to be held in October, saying, “I am really looking forward to taking part in the festival.”

Konishiki was born in Hawaii in 1963. After graduating from high school, he joined the Takasago stable and began his sumo career in 1982. He was promoted to the rank of ozeki before eventually retiring in 1997. Konishiki currently appears in Hawaiian music concerts and events as a celebrity.

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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