Worldwide Youth Uchinanchu Festival in Brazil leads to new movement

Worldwide Youth U<em>chinanchu</em> Festival in Brazil leads to new movement

At around 8:00pm on July 26, at the Brazil Okinawa Kenjin-Kai Hall, participants from all over the world talked about utilizing the Uchina network.

August 6, 2012 Akiko Yasuhara, Correspondent of Ryukyu Shimpo

The 1st Worldwide Youth Uchinanchu Festival Brazil 2011, started in Sao Paulo on July 25 with about 150 people from seven countries participating in the five-day long event. The participants were mainly young Uchina in their teens and 30s who are now living overseas. They discussed things such as how can societies of Okinawan descendants best pass on Okinawan culture, and the creation of a database to allow Uchinanchu all over the world to share relevant information.

As evidenced by many of the participants commenting that they were able to make valuable contacts, this festival represents a new movement in which the young standard bearers of Okinawa’s future can come together from countries all over the world to engage in meaningful dialogue. The discussion on this occasion centered upon the creation and use of networks, and the passing on through the generations of matters of cultural significance, but there were many young people who were interested in issues surrounding the U.S. military bases, so in future festivals that issue will undoubtedly be one of the topics for discussion.

I’m also Uchinanchu, born and raised in Okinawa. I have lived outside Okinawa since I graduated from high school but still feel the same passion towards my home as the overseas descendants whom I saw at the festival. Now I’m 35 years old, and had many opportunities to talk with other young Uchinanchu about the future and about what the leaders of Okinawa should be like. I feel uneasy to think that the circumstances surrounding the U.S. military bases in Okinawa have not changed in the two decades since I left the prefecture.

The Worldwide Youth Uchinanchu Festival will be held every year until the 6th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival in 2015. I look forward to seeing what impact the global network and the energy generated through the youth festival will have on the present and future of Okinawa. I participated in the event in order to carry out interviews, but I was reassured to meet so many capable young Uchinanchu leaders from countries all over the world.

(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)

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