The Fall 2012 semester has whizzed by. Here are some of the things that the Center for Okinawan Studies has done this semester:
The Center for Okinawan Studies again participated in the Hawaii United Okinawa Association’s Okinawan Festival. The festival took place on September 1 & 2 at Kapiolani Park. With the kokua of our wonderful volunteers for COS, we were able to promote the center and sell some UH Press books related to Okinawan Studies. The book sales were quite brisk and successful, as thousands of people passed by our table in the Cultural Tent over the course of the two days.
COS continued its lecture series this semester beginning with a talk by UHM Professor Emeritus Kyoko Hijirida and Mr. Grant “Sandaa” Murata about the Okinawan language. On September 18, the presentation titled “Shimakutuba nu Hi” was given to coincide with “Shimakutuba no Hi” (Ryukyuan Language(s) Day) in Okinawa, which celebrates the native languages of Okinawa Prefecture. Professor Hijirida and Sandaa Sensei told stories in the Okinawan language (Uchinaaguchi) and gave people a chance to hear what the Okinawan language sounds like. Sandaa Sensei also treated the audience to the sounds of the sanshin.
Then, on October 23, “Okinawa as Your Classroom: University of the Ryukyus Exchange Programs” focused on the exchange programs between UH and the University of the Ryukyus (also known as Ryūdai). This session gave attendees information about the exchange programs in hope of encouraging more students to take advantage of the programs. Two representatives (Professors Kyoko Ashihara and Yoshino Yamamoto) who teach the Japanese classes for foreign students at Ryūdai, along with Ms. Sara Balder of the UH Mānoa International Exchange (MIX) Office, gave presentations about the programs with regards to their respective universities. Also, students who went through these programs shared their valuable experiences with the audience.
In November, there were two talks sponsored by COS. On November 14, Dr. Jayson Chun of UH West O‘ahu gave a talk titled “Introduction to Okinawan Pop.” He discussed the role of Okinawa in Japan’s popular culture and the audience was introduced to videos of prominent Okinawan singers in the world of J-Pop. On November 16, COS was one of the co-sponsors for the talk by Ryūdai Professor Katsunori Yamazato titled “The Resurgence of Okinawan Language Through Contemporary Okinawan Literature.” This presentation was part of the UHM Colleges of Arts & Sciences and the Dai Ho Chun Distinguished Lecturer Series. Professor Yamazato talked about some of the ways in which contemporary Okinawan literature has played a role in the revitalization of the Okinawan language and the current situation regarding the language.
The Spring 2013 is looking exciting as well, with a symposium/exhibition about processions during the Edo period being held in February, of which COS is one of the co-sponsors. Other events are being finalized and will be announced shortly.