Okinawan’s from all over the world embrace in Peru at the World Youth Uchinanchu Festival

Okinawan’s from all over the world embrace in Peru at the World Youth Uchinanchu Festival

The grand finale of the World Youth Uchinanchu Festival, with the crowd-pleasing HY onstage. February 10 Peru Okinawa Kenjin-Kai Hall


February 12, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo

By Special Correspondent Lima Tokumori


The 6th World Youth Uchinanchu Festival (hosted by the festival’s executive committee) held the round table discussion, closing ceremony, and grand finale February 10 at the Peru Okinawa Kenjin-Kai Hall in the suburbs of Lima, Peru, ending the five day festival.

Okinawan descendants from all over the world from their teens into their 30’s exchanged hugs and promised to see each other again.

At the grand finale, the band HY from Uruma City performed to great excitement from the crowd.

The next festival is planned for 2020, although the location is yet to be determined.


At the closing ceremony, Karina Vallejos Kohatsu, vice-president of the festival committee, gave her closing remarks, stating, “Even though we come from different backgrounds and nationalities, we have the same Uchinanchu roots.

I believe that our efforts to spread Okinawan culture will form a bond for generations to come.”


During the dinner, festival-goers were able to dine of Peruvian cuisine and enjoy traditional dance performed by the Peru Kitanakagusuku Sonjinkai.

Peruvian-born Kenji Igei Kohatsu, 30, also performed the festival’s theme song, “Shima Ganasa Uchina” to thunderous applause.


For the grand finale, the band HY, who traveled from Okinawa for the festival, took the stage.

The band greeted the festival, saying, “To all the Uchinanchu who have gathered from all over the world: Haisai!” (Okinawan for hello).

The band played a song re-written in Spanish, allowing the audience to sing along.

Hideyuki Shinzato (guitar, vocals) exclaimed, “I am happy that our music was able to bring us to Peru.

Because all of their ancestors left Okinawa and did their best, everyone was able to connect again here.

” The night concluded with everyone putting their arms around each other’s shoulders and singing.


Mariela Koya, 30, who traveled from Argentina, said “My grandparents died before I was born. At this festival, I learned about the Battle of Okinawa, and I feel like I was able to learn about their thoughts and struggles.”

Rina Tamaki, 29, who traveled to the festival from Okinawa, commented, “I am happy people were able to interact with the Nago City Social Organization. There were many people here who said they wanted learning materials about Okinawa’s history. I want to do what I can to help them when I go back to Okinawa.”


(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)




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