Hawaiians with Okinawan ancestry play sanshin for peace in Yomitan

Hawaiians with Okinawan ancestry play sanshin for peace in Yomitan

Norman Kaneshiro, a third generation Okinawan-Hawaiian, and others perform for peace at the Chibichiri-gama in Yomitan village.


November 3, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo


Approximately twenty Hawaiians with Okinawan ancestry visited the Chibichirigama in Yomitan Village on November 1, where a group of young men had vandalized the natural cave. The group played Kwamucha-bushi and made offered up origami cranes and Hawaiian leis in a prayer for peace. The group also visited the Shimukugama, where a thousand residents were saved by two people who had returned from Hawaii and were able to communicate in English. The group reaffirmed the bond between Okinawa and Hawaii.


The visiting group consists of members from a Ryukyuan performance group called Ukwanshin Kabudan. The members of the group are third and fourth generations of Okinawan immigrants to Hawaii, and they have kept alive their Okinawan culture through musical performance and Okinawan languages. They also conduct an annual study tour, bringing Okinawan-Hawaiians to Okinawa to learn about Okinawan history and culture.


Sixty-nine-year old former village assembly member, Shoichi Chibana, led the group and explained that the cave was damaged by young men in September.


Fourty-two-year old third generation Okinawan-Hawaiian, Norman Kaneshiro, performed Kwamucha-bushi, a song about the sorrow of losing a loved child. He shared his thoughts, “I performed the music thinking about the people of Okinawa whose feelings are hurt, and I shared their feeling, being also Uchinanchu and an islander.”


The group learned about the history of the Shimukugama, where two residents who had returned from Hawaii and understood English, saved the one thousand people hiding in the cave. The group will host a concert at the Okinawa Christian University main chapel on November 4 from 5pm to 6pm. The concert is free.


(English translation by T&CT and Sayaka Sakuma)


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