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.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Some Background about the Poems and Folksongs of Okinawa


All of Okinawa is located in a sub-tropical area so the people of Okinawa enjoy a very mild climate. The island remains green throughout the year and the growing seasons are continuous. Such a climate has cultivated the passionate and ardent temperments of its people.

In Okinawa they grow very big tropical trees called "Deigo." They have very large knotty trunks and they are the only trees in Okinawa which loose their leaves during Okinawa's mild winters. Their giant trunks remind one of the strong arms of young men.

In early summer the trees bloom simaltaneously from the hearts of their bare bodies, deep crimson flowers, so red they seem like fire. Of course they are very beautiful to see. Okinawans believe they symbolize the burning passions of the ladies of Okinawa.


Typhoons have raged and struck violently throughout the Ryukyu islands for centuries.

Nature has not always been so merciful to the Okinawan people but after the storm the island always returns to a calm state with blue indigo found in both the sea and the skies.

Circumstance and Okinawan Character

There are some seventy islands in the Ryukyus including Okinawa, Miyako, and the Yaeyamas. The Miyako and Yaeyama islands ly far to the southwest of Okinawa and the sea has been a major influence on the lives of the Okinawan people. With the sea all around them it has greatly influence their character and envoked the people to produce many beautiful poems.
Okinawan Lifestyle

Okinawan islands are mostly small and narrow and as a result they have not been blessed with an abundance of natural resourses. For generations the people of the islands have had to make their livelyhood by navigating between them in sailing canoes.

Most Okinawan poems are the direct result of the spontaneous flow of emotions and feelings aroused by everyday struggles experienced as part of living life in the islands. Naturally these poems have not been artificially produced and are a direct response to the natural laws of nature and the spiritual lives of these island people.

Okinawans are cheerfully living their lives un the pursuit of happiness. Their poety expresses both the pains and pleasures of their very existance. Their struggle has produced beautiful poems including these.

Isigachi ka ra                   n ji ti
Ya ra bu za chi                hai mi gu ri ba
Su ri ka ra                        ha ra si ba
Ki ra ma                           Naha nu minatu

Leaving the port of Ishigaki
Sailing round the cape Yarabu
Still further sail scarcely brings, us near Kerema,
Soon Iimps into the port Naha.

Yam ba ru nu         tabi ya
A wa ri do ya         si gu ku
Miru munu ya         ne ra n
Umi tu                   yama tu

The dearest one
Is a journey to Yambaru
Nothing can be seen
But sea and Mountians to console you.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tom, I love your blog, pls add me as my blog: sunmi_totoro's blog. I love Chicago and Okinawa also.