Urasoe City elementary school pupils debut as history tour guides

Urasoe City elementary school pupils debut as history tour guides

Elementary school pupils in the Urasoe City Guides explain about the Gusuku of Urasoe City near the Urasoe Castle ruins on August 21.

August 26, 2011 Yukiyo Zaha of Ryukyu Shimpo

On August 21, in conjunction with the Urasoe Board of Education, the Urasoe City Guides (headed by Hiromasa Awamori), a nonprofit organization that runs tours of the historical sites and cultural assets of Urasoe City, carried out a tour around Urasoe Gusuku (castle) ruins and Yodore (Ryukyu Royal Mausoleum). The tour is an annual event held during the summer holidays and this year it attracted about 150 participants, including family groups. Five local elementary-school pupils made their debuts as guides introducing people to the history of Urasoe City.

Takushi Elementary School pupils 10 year-old Kaito Omine (fourth grade) and 11 year-old Shotaro Koishi (sixth grade), Kamimori Elementary School pupil Tatsuhiro Nishi (sixth grade), and Urasoe Elementary School sixth grade pupils 11 year-old Shiho Miyagi and 12 year-old Hinako Kawamitsu acted as tour guides for the first time.
They began by participating in a children’s training course for history guides in Urasoe City, before going on to the historical sites and repeatedly practicing their explanations.

The five pupils were excited about the prospect of tour guiding, saying things like, “I’m a little nervous about it,” and “I would really like to deliver clear explanations.”

The participants on the tours were divided into six tour groups and introduced to Urasoe Yodore, which houses the remains of the rulers of the Ryukyu Island such as King Eiso and King Sho Nei, the grave of Fuyu Iha, the father of Okinawaology and Deegu Gama, an Utaki (sacred place) located within Urasoe Gusuku, which local civilians used as a shelter during the Battle of Okinawa.
Along the way, the participants also enjoyed quizzes on the history of Urasoe City.

Awamori said, “I hope that the event will help to create a point of communication between parents and children during the summer holidays.”
Urasoe Elementary School fourth-year student 10 year-old Shiori Miyagi, who took part with her family, said, “I took part because I wanted to find out what kind of gravesites there were in Urasoe City in the past and how long the stone path is. I would also like to become one of the child tour guides.”

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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