Naha Mayoral Election 10/21 “Putting Naha residents’ happiness first”–Shiroma renews pledge upon re-election, contemplates Onaga’s memory

Naha Mayoral Election 10/21 “Putting Naha residents’ happiness first”--Shiroma renews pledge upon re-election, contemplates Onaga’s memory

Mikiko Shiroma (front left) dancing kachaashii with Governor Denny Tamaki (front right) and others after her re-election at 8:02 p.m. on October 21 at her campaign office in Matsuyama, Naha City (photograph by Naoya Oshiro)


October 22, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo


“Yes, yes, yes!” When her re-election was announced on television at 8:00 p.m., Mikiko Shiroma, 67, struck a victory pose, pumping her fist in the air.

Cheers and whistles erupted at her campaign office in Matsuyama, Naha City, and applause filled the air.

Shiroma, surrounded by smiles and kachaashii dancing, pledged resolutely, “I will give all I’ve got as the ‘mother’ of Naha City for the sake of the people’s happiness!”


Four years ago, Shiroma was the first woman elected to be mayor of Naha City.

She took the reins from former Governor Takeshi Onaga and advanced collaborative community development.

However, her mayorship in many ways resembled a continuation of Onaga’s administration, and many wondered, “what does Shiroma bring to the table?”


Shiroma developed her own style as a leader–“My specialties are education and child-raising, making use of my experience as a schoolteacher.

City employees and residents help make up for areas where I’m lacking.”


“Do your best.” Those were Onaga’s words to her on July 24, when she announced that she was running for a second term.

Roughly two weeks later, Onaga, who had been her classmate in junior high and high school, passed away suddenly.

She cried until her eyes were red. On the day the election officially commenced, Shiroma was entrusted by Onaga’s supporters with a green ribbon, green having been Onaga’s color.

She fought her campaign with the ribbon pinned to her sash at all times as an amulet.


Shiroma found time to canvas and campaign while continuing her duties as a public official, giving speeches at as many as twenty or more locations on some days.

When faced with criticism that she hasn’t shown any results, she placed her trust in the people, saying, “I know that the people of Naha understand what I have accomplished.”

By the end of the day she would be too exhausted to even eat dinner, but she continued to carry her slight frame to every corner of the city, encouraged by supporters’ urging, “keep at it” and “we support you.”


Upon hearing the announcement of her re-election, Shiroma gripped a white handkerchief and quietly unfolded it.

A green ribbon peeped out.

A gentle smile filled Shiroma’s face as she embraced her supporters, saying, “We can’t achieve happiness for the people of Naha if we aren’t at peace.

I will continue to engage in warm and kind administration of the city.”


(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)


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