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.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Cultural genes are inherited from parents and grandparents

Culture plays a dramatic role in the way people think, feel, and act. I believe that all cultures have certain values, beliefs, customs, language, knowledge, and worldviews that directly reflect the people as a whole. Okinawans are a great example of this and many of them continue to act on the ways of the past in ways that makes them very unique human beings. Many of the older generation on Okinawa today grew up poor. They depended on their neighbors and on their communities when times were hard. Through cooperation they built a spiritually rich society  which can still be seen on the island today in the ways of the people. Here is an example of what I mean. This is a video of a young boy I happened on while browsing YouTube. In the video the young boy is dancing to the delight of the crowd in a local department store. It is quite obvious to me that he has been influenced by the people around him as his style of Okinawan dance could not be possible without exposure to people who strive to keep there culture alive.


The young mans moves are very impressive. Did you noticed his shirt also reflects the cultural beliefs of his parents, as it reads " Take it Easy - Positive Life" which seems to be the jist of the Okinawan lifestyle. I speak of the Okinawan lifestyle of old because everyone in this modern world reflects back on their cultural roots when selecting their lifestyle. While the elders of Okinawa understood the importance of maintaining the culture many of the younger generation have not sufficiently inherited their cultural genes. The influences of modern Japanese and American culture upon the island has corrupted the gene pool. Many young people today are far more interested in eating a Big Mac rather than a plate of goya champuru. I believe that in order for the average Okinawan person to attain Fukuju (A happy and healthy longevity) they must participate in the societal needs of their communities. Without their participation the cultural genes will be stifled.

During our visit to Okinawa in 2011 I was very impressed with the daughter of my wife's sister as it was very apparent to me that she was carrying on Okinawan traditions passed along by the generations before her. She was also successfully melding these traditions in with the natural modern lifestyle of present day Okinawa. Here is a picture of her children I received just this week which proves she understands the importance of passing along cultural genes.

It is important that children find some fun and excitement in their cultural heritage to instill a sense of heritage in them understanding where they came from and how important it is to remember the past.

In America it is even harder to pass on the Okinawan cultural genes. Far removed from the feelings of community still found in Okinawa today the uchinanchu living in America must work hard to overcome the typical selfish mindset of the American youth. One promising factor I see though, is through the work of the Okinawa Kenjinkai's in American striving to give member's children a sense of their cultural heritage. In Chicago they are teaching cultural aspects of dance, taiko, and karate to the children which is the first step of ownership in a rich cultural community. The children are our future and we should not neglect our responsibilities to pass on the cultural genes to the next generation.

1 comment:

  1. I know that this is an older post, but I enjoyed this particular one after browsing through your blog. Being half Okinawan myself, I do find it challenging to pass down my Okinawan side to my son while being in the US. I love all the videos and posts you upload and feel very thankful that I can read/watch these with him and show him some of his culture that he cannot experience every day!