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Visiting Okinawa:
2nd Generation Heads to Okinawa
Written & Directed by James Knott

This video was created to be shown at the Ohio Tomonokai Spring Gathering for 2007. They put a lot of emphasis on the 2nd generation of Okinawans living in America continuing the culture. That is why that is emphasized in this video.

Flag of Okinawa, JapanOKINAWA, JAPAN

Okinawa is Japan's southernmost prefecture. Over 1.25 million people are scattered across nearly 150 islands.

Okinawa has a unique culture that goes back several hundred years to when it was an independent country known as the Ryukyu Kingdom. This kingdom was known to trade frequently with China and as a result adopted much more from the Chinese then the rest of Japan.Map of Okinawa, Japan

The main island, Okinawa-honto, is surrounded by vivid, bright blue ocean and coral reefs. It is densely populated and urbanized in the south, while the the mountainous northern part of the island consists of just a few fishing villages and dense forests.

The beautiful, sub-tropical setting combined with historical roots that are more intertwined with China than Japan, have created a wonderful culture that is distinctly Okinawan.

TRANSCRIPT

My name is James.  I am married to Chrissy - who is the daughter of Satoko - who is from Kita Daito and married to Karl.  Satoko has another daughter named Annie.  Annie has a husband named Joby.  Chrissy, Annie, Joby and I are part of the second generation and in October 2006 we got to meet our Okinawan relatives and experience Okinawan culture firsthand.

Our family trip to Okinawa coincided with the 4th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival.  Okinawans from all over the world returned to Okinawa to celebrate Okinawan culture.  It provided many opportunities to see traditional dancing... the eisa drums... and the colorful, tradional costumes.  There were several large parades with sights and traditions that I had never seen.  In one parade, the returning Uchinanchu marched down Kokusai-dori, while the local Okinawans watched and clapped.  Dozens of countries were represented... and Tomonokais from all over the U.S. marched down the street.  The Ohio Tomonokai proudly represented our state with lots of zest. 

One of my favorite events was the tug of war.  That was, by far, the biggest rope I had ever seen.  This is the largest annual Tug-of-War in the world and it was massive.  (Nat Sound)

The Festival also had some impressive ceremonies.  At one point the President of the Ohio Tomonokai was recognized.  The closing ceremony for the festival was very impressive.  It climaxed with hundreds of performers dancing all throughout the convention center.

Beyond the festival, there were so many other fascinating things to see...  The shops and restaurants of Kokusai-dori...  Heiwa-dori and the fish market...  the constant energy of Naha...

We took the Monorail to Shuri-jo to see how the Uchinanchu rulers lived in the days of the Ryukyu Kingdom.  The long history of Okinawa is represented well in nine World Heritage Sites - including Nakijin-jo, Sefa-Utaki, Shikina-en and several others.

For an appreciation of the hardships that the Okinawan people have overcome, a stop at the World War II Peace Memorial is a must.  The names of the soldiers who died in the battle of Okinawa are written on walls surrounding the Cornerstone of Peace.

We also got to visit Ocean Expo Park, which is home to one of the largest aquariums in the world - the Churami Aquarium.  They also have free water shows and a village of native Okinawan Homes.

Okinawa is such a beautiful island.  The beautiful blue ocean combined with the Rocky landscape make for a wonderful place to visit, but what makes it even better is having family there.  Joby and I got to meet our Okinawan relatives for the first time and even though there was a bit of a language barrier, we were able to form bonds with them that we will cherish for the rest of our lives.

I hope that we all can return to Okinawa at some point, but in the meantime.  Let's all help celebrate the wonderful culture and traditions it has provided.

The Tour of Okinawa is also available for viewing at...

1: Intro

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2: Heading North

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3: Hedo Misaki

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4: Hiking Route 58

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5: Hentona to Ogimi

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6: Family in Nakijin

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7: Nakijin Castle and Village

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8: Ie-Jima

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9: The Jungles of Yonaha-Dake

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10: Ocean Expo Park
and Churaumi Aquarium

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11: Togyu
Okinawan Bullfighting

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12: U.S. Military
and Central Okinawa

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13: Katsuren-Jo (Castle)

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14: Naha

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15: Kokusai-Dori

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16: Musical Traditions

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17: World's Largest Tug-of-War

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18: Heiwa-Dori and Makishi Public Market

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19: Shisa Dogs and Tsuboya Pottery Village

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20: Shuri Castle

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21: Shikinaen

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22: Tamaudun

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23: Sefa Utaki

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24: Okinawa World & Gyokusendo Cave

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25: WW2 Peace Memorial

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26: Final Thoughts

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Other Japanese Links:

Okinawa.com - Thanks for posting my videos!!!
Internet-Okinawa.com - Thanks for posting my videos!!!
Ohio Tomonokai website
Prepare for Driving in Okinawa/Japan
hdrjapan.com
JapaneseLifestyle.com

 

These videos can also be found at
StrayCompass.com

Tour of Okinawa

1 Introduction
James with school kids in Naha, Okinawa

2 Heading North
Hibiscus on side of road in Northern Okinawa

3 Hedo Misaki
Hedo Misako - Okinawan Revision Monument

4 Hiking Route 58
Curvy road sign in northern Okinawa

5 Hentona to Ogimi
Giant Wood Spider - Okinawa

6 Family in Nakijin
Photo of Juna Ooshiro

7: Nakijin Village
and Castle
Nakijin Castle Ruins

8 Ie-Jima
Gusuku-Yama on the island of Ie-Jima

9 The Jungles of
Yonaha-Dake

Lizard at Yonaha-Dake

10 Ocean Expo Park
and Churaumi Aquarium
Shark at Churaumi Aquarium

11 Togyu
Okinawan Bullfighting

Togyu - Okinawan Bullfighting

12 U.S. Military and
Central Okinawa

U.S. Military Plane flies into Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan

13 Katsuren-Jo (Castle)
Katsuren-jo castle in Okinawa, Japan

14 Naha
Monorail in Naha, Okinawa, Japan

15 Kokusai-Dori
Souvenir shop on Kokusai-Dori in Okinawa, Japan

16 Musical Traditions
Traditional Dance is performed at Shuri Castle in Naha, Okinawa, Japan

17 World's Largest
Tug-of-War

Naha Tsunahiki - World's largest Tug-Of-War

18 Heiwa Dori
Pig face for sale at Makishi Public Market

19 Shisa Dogs and
Tsuboya Pottery Village

Shisa Dog

20 Shuri Castle
Shuri Castle

21 Shikinaen
Skikinaen

22 Tamaudun
Tamaudun

23 Sefa Utaki
Sefa utaki

24 Okinawa World
Gyokusendo Cave
Chrissy Knott at gyokusendo cave and Okinawa World

25 WW2 Peace
Memorial
WW2 Peace Memorial Cornerstone of Peace in Okinawa, Japan

26 Final Thoughts
James Knott hikes down Route 58

Having trouble viewing these videos? Here are come more links to the Tour of Okinawa and other Japanese Web Sites.

More Okinawan Videos...

Visiting Okinawa:
Second Generation
Heads to Okinawa

Eisa Drums
Eisa drum performance from members of the Ohio Tomonokai.

Ohio Tomonokai
Group Performance 1

featuring Sanshin (Shamisen), Taiko & Singing.

Ohio Tomonokai
Group Performance 2

featuring Sanshin (Shamisen), Taiko & Singing.

Okinawan Sanshin Performance

Okinawan Folk Dancing

Site designed by James Knott
Agile H Productions, LLC
Copyright © 2008