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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, June 9, 2011

The Okinawa Stone of Kenosha WI

Did you know that there are commemorative stones on the inner walls of the Washington Monument in Washington DC? Well there are. Gifts from contributors who helped build the monument and others who believed in what George Washington stood for. Even the people of the Ryukyu Kingdom, Here’s the story.

In a mission first entrusted to Commodore Matthew C. Perry 157 years ago, the people of Okinawa Prefecture presented an engraved memorial stone of polished coral to the people of the United States. This came about after it was discovered that the original stone had gone missing. During the 1989 ceremony, Shizuo Kishaba, then vice president of the Ryukyu America Historical Research Society, stated "This stone... should symbolize the historical ties of friendship and goodwill between our people.”

While Washington does have the memorial stone I discovered another stone that I think is even more magnificent. I call it the “Okinawa Stone” and its located right here in my home town of Kenosha Wisconsin. I was really surprised to discover it as I knew nothing of it previously and I’m pretty into all things Okinawan. Here’s the story.

I guess the American Legion was looking for a huge rock that was actually part of “The Rock” as Okinawa is affectionately known to many ex-soldiers that have been there. They wanted it for a memorial fountain that would honor the cities fallen war heroes. One of these veterans approached a good Okinawan friend of ours who also resides in Kenosha and asked her if she could help them get a lead on a boulder from Okinawa.

I guess our friend had a huge garden in Okinawa where they had just such a stone. One thing led to another and low and behold now there is a piece of Okinawa in Kenosha. The boulder is actually from a site where one of the bloodiest battles of the battle for Okinawa took place. It was an awesome feat to just get it here but it has been in place since 1976. Funny how life is connected isn’t it. Here is a video I made of the stone. If your ever in Kenosha stop by and have a look.



4 comments:

  1. Interesting. I thought I had read that the stones Perry took with him to be placed in the Washington Monument were never used. But I may be misremembering; and I don't have George Kerr's book with me here to check it.

    However, as I am in DC for the summer, I suppose I should visit the Monument and see what I can find out :)

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  2. Actually the original stone was put in the Smithsonian and for what ever reason the army corp of engineers threw it out.

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  3. I just wanted to say that I am enjoying your blog. I am the blogger for the Okinawa Cultural Association of Texas. But unfortunately, I currently have more interest in Okinawa than I do knowledge or even blogging expertise. Okinawaology Blog has been a true source of inspiration and information for me. I really like the history pieces but find this one particularly touching.
    Looking forward to keeping up with your blog in the future,
    Jim

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  4. Jim, It all has to start from somewhere. Even Uchinanchu people who have been away from their traditional culture tend to forget. My purpose here is to put things down that gets people interested in who they are and where they came from. My great grandparents were Gypsies that came from the area once known as yougoslavia. The were of german descent and I've tried to research them. Information is very limited and lost through the generations. It is no diffrent in any culture for traditions to be lost through time. I hope that by writing down information it will be carried on just a bit longer and todays generation will have a resource to learn from. Thanks for reading and please share the site and the information with others you think may be interested.

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