, 2022-08-18 13:07:43,
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald
“Knowledge is power” goes the saying attributed to Francis Bacon in his published work, “Meditationes Sacrae” (1597). But how does one go about obtaining knowledge? Reading books is one way, and those books can be found in your local library.
For those of Okinawan descent visiting the homeland, the Okinawa Kenritsu Toshokan or Okinawa Prefectural Library is a great resource of Okinawan history and culture. Previously located next to Yogi Park near Highway 330, the new OPL reopened in 2018 at its current location on the third floor of the same building as the Naha Bus Terminal near Asahibashi Eki (monorail station) off of Highway 58. Three times larger in size than the old one, the new library, with a capacity to hold 1.4 million publications, contains over 800,000 with approximately 300,000 of them dealing with Okinawan topics. A Daiso, coffee shop and other stores are conveniently located on the second floor.
This warehouse of information is also especially of great value to those conducting genealogical research as they contain registries from each municipality here as well as logs of those who emigrated overseas to such locations as Hawai‘i.
I didn’t know about the Okinawan community in Hawai‘i or the Hawaii United Okinawa Association when I lived in Hawai‘i nor when I arrived in Okinawa in 1994. It wasn’t until I contacted the Yomitan Club to introduce myself in January 2016 that I got involved with the Hawai‘i-Okinawa community. As I connected more dots between people in Hawai‘i and Okinawa over the next several months, excitement was building up in the international Uchinänchu (Okinawan) community about the Sixth Worldwide Uchinänchu Festival scheduled for October 26 to 30 later that year. Almost 8,000 people from 29 countries and regions including Japan made the trek to their motherland to attend the taikai (festival) that is held once every five years.
I volunteered briefly at an event during the taikai that was held 10 years prior, and I expressed my desire and availability to assist with the one in 2016. Officers from Okinawa Hawai‘i Kyökai, the support organization to HUOA, introduced me to the OPL director and staff that summer so that I could help them as a translator for their genealogical research booth that…
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