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World Uchinanchu Festival planning kicks into high gear

Date Posted: 2010-07-22

With the 5th World Uchinanchu Festival now only 15 months away, organizers are now coordinating activities with the prefecture governor’s office as well as local tourism organizations and the Okinawa business community.

The World Uchinanchu Festival, held every five years, will take place next October 13th – 16th at the new Okinawa Cellular Baseball Stadium in Naha. The word Uchinanchu means people originally from Okinawa, but now living abroad. During the festival they will return to the island to share a friendship exchange with local Okinawans. The last festival was in 2006.

“People with their roots in Okinawa, wherever they now live in the world, will come back to their homeland to mingle with 1,3380,000 prefecture citizens,” says Okinawa’s governor, Hirokazu Nakaima. “It is such a great festival, and this time the festival will be different as times change and the festival itself is improved.” Nakaima is the organizing committee chairman, and will coordinate the activities of local businesses, tourism agencies and friendship organizations to create a memorable festival.

This fall the organizing committee will begin staging pre-festival events on Okinawa to share historical elements of the Ryukyu Kingdom, its culture and impact on the world. An Eisa Festival, as well as a Ryukyu Kingdom era play ‘Amawari’ performance will take place with elementary, junior high and senior high school students all studying the history and culture of World Uchinanchu people.

Organizers say they intend the 2011 World Uchinanchu Festival to be more open than previous ones, and it will promote involvement of both tourists and Okinawan residents to have fun while learning more about the island lifestyle. The organizing committee is still seeking volunteers for the event, inviting those interested to call (098) 866-2762 to participate.

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