Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival to be postponed until October 2022

September 1, 2020 Ryukyu Shimpo

Due to the impacts of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Okinawan government has proposed before August 31 to delay the 7th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival by a full year. The festival was originally scheduled for October 2021. The prefecture contacted the approximately 140 groups comprising the executive committee by mail. An official decision will be made in September after deliberations.

The prefecture judged it would be difficult for festival-goers to travel for the event, as the coronavirus pandemic shows no signs of subsiding and countries across the world have imposed travel restrictions. Under the circumstances, it concluded that this year’s festival will unlikely meet the objective of “expanding and developing the uchina network through exchanges with uchinanchu in Okinawa and passing it on to the next generation,” and therefore called for a postponement.

A representative from the prefectural government set up a web conference with uchinanchus abroad and communicated, “By the end of the fiscal year, I would like to discuss the challenges we faced with the previous festival, and establish what we want to accomplish in the next one.”

The previous festival in Okinawa welcomed approximately 8,000 visitors from 27 countries. Of the 8,000 visitors, approximately 1,800 were from Hawaii. President Lynn Miyahira of the Hawaii United Okinawa Association commented, “Major events have been canceled all over the world, so I am not surprised by the postponement.” She added, “I look forward to reuniting with the people in Okinawa and other uchinanchus from around the world soon.”

This year, the Hawaii United Okinawa Association will be holding its annual Okinawan Festival online, due to the pandemic. The event will start at noon on September 5 Japan time and will feature song and dance performances. Miyahira is hoping to see viewers “from all over the world.” Visit the Okinawan Festival website to find out more and join.

(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)

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