Japanese American organizations select Okinawan for 2014 Women of the Year Award

Japanese American organizations select Okinawan for 2014 Women of the Year Award

One of the four 2014 Women of the Year Award recipients Keiko Yonamine. At Quiet Cannon, Montebello.

June 9, 2014, Sadao Tome, correspondent of Ryukyu Shimpo

The Downtown Los Angeles Chapter of the Japanese American Citizen League and the Japanese Women’s Society of Southern California selected four women for the 2014 Women of the Year Award on May 4. The organizations recognized them for their spirit of dedication. The award is given annually to women who contribute to developing Japanese American communities in California by sharing Japanese culture and promoting U.S.-Japanese exchanges. Since 1963, 170 Japanese women have received the accolade.

The organizations selected four women including; Keiko Yonamine, Seiyumi Fujima,Yuko Hirayama, and Yoshie Sato. Yonamine was awarded the prize for her contribution to promoting Okinawan traditional dance. Fujima teaches classical Japanese dance to over 300 students. Hirayama worked as a broadcaster for radio and TV programs. Sato has been the president of the Tochigi Association of Southern California for the past eight years. She prompted the City of West Covina to sign a sister-city relationship agreement with the City of Ohtawara in Tochigi Prefecture.

Seventy-year-old Yonamine from Kin Town, lives in Oceanside. This year marks the 30th anniversary since she opened her Okinawan traditional dance school in San Diego.

In 2003, the women’s forum of the Japan-U.S. Center selected Yonamine for the Japanese Culture Award in the Okinawan traditional dance division.

She is a recipient of the shihan master’s license from the Okinawan traditional dance organization Tamagusukuryu Kinanokai. Yonamine served as the chairperson of the Geinobu Performing Arts of the Okinawan Association of America and is currently the group’s advisor.

(English translation by T&CT)

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