Hai Sai! Welcome to my Blog.

Hello, my name is Tom Corrao and I am the blogger behind the Okinawaology Blog. I created this blog to share and discuss all things Okinawan. I’m also the Public Relations Officer and Minkan Taishi to the Chicago Okinawa Kenjinkai. My experience with Okinawa is derived from the time I spent there during the 1980's and 90's (10 years) when serving in the United States Air Force. I've also been married to an Okinawan woman for 30 years now and have been immersed in many things Okinawan through both friends and family. I do not claim to be all knowing about everything Okinawan but I try hard and study the history and culture. I welcome everyone that is interested in Okinawa and hope that I can provide useful information to those uchinanchu that may be curious about their culture and heritage. I also welcome those who are not of Okinawan heritage but have experienced, or are experiencing, the islands culture while stationed there with the United States Military. Comments are welcomed and will be published as long as they are in good taste and on track with the purpose of this blog. My hope with this blog is to bring Uchinanchu people around the world a little closer to their cultural roots by expressing information that has started to fade in light of a more modern world. We should never forget our culture or the people who came before us and through the Blog my intentions are to meld the old with the new and implant knowledge that will help maintain the traditions and culture of an island people.

Monday, August 2, 2010

5th World Uchinanchu Festival Information

Saturday some of the St. Louis Kenjinkai members expressed interest in participating in the 5th World Uchinanchu Festival. They stated that they were unaware that such a festival existed and wanted to participate next year. When I though about it, I figured I should probably write about it here on the blog too because if they didn't know then there are probably others out there too. So here is some information for all you to pass along.

As Goodwill Ambassadors to Okinawa, and the Chicago Okinawa Kenjinkai, both Ikuko Nichols and I are pleased to announce that the Prefectural Government of Okinawa will once again sponsor an Uchinanchu Taikai in 2011.We have received word from Mr. Yonamine, who is a chairman with the governments Exchange Promotion Division in Okinawa, that the 5th World Uchinanchu Festival will be held from October 13th to 16th, 2011.

This is a major event that invites people of Okinawan heritage to return to Okinawa for many cultural events. The invitations are extended from the prefectural government to members of Okinawa Kenjinkais’ around the globe. The event normally begins with a march by the Kenjinkais’ in a parade down Okinawa’s famous Kokusai street in the heart of downtown Naha.

Usually the next day there is a huge opening ceremony where many performers from around the Ryukyu Islands perform a professionally choreographed show to welcome the visitors from around the world. I attended the 4th World Uchinanchu festival in 2006 and can tell you that there is no bigger event that will make you feel the pride of being Okinawan than this one.

There are scheduled events around the island and you can set your own pace depending on what you like. There are performances of Okinawan dance and music, theatrical performances, karate tournaments and demonstrations, talent shows, business exchange promoting the uchinanchu network, concerts of popular musicians, and an international fair which is a festival of food and products from around the world.

I was amazed at the sheer scope of the event when I attend and our Okinawan hosts really did a wonderful job making everyone feel welcomed. They even went as far as giving everyone free bus passes that were good throughout the festival. It was a truly spectacular event! Soon we will begin organizing for our trip.

For those of you who will be attending, you will need to start planning soon. Some things to consider will be that everyone attending will be responsible for finding their own transportation and accommodations during the event. Many of us have relatives in Okinawa that will allow us to stay with them. If you don’t, remember that the hotels will fill up during this event. Word to the wise make your reservations early! Something else you should consider is getting an international drivers license if you plan to rent a car during your stay. I did this through AAA when we went for a nominal fee and we were able to move about the island at our leisure because of it. If you have questions about the Uchinanchu Taikai you can email me at I will be happy to help you if I can. Kenjinkai members will need to get with their Kenjinkai's president to make sure your name is submitted as a participant.

Hope this helps everyone out that is interested in attending. I will post the schedule of events when it becomes available later.

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