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Funny Book on Okinawa Full of Insights

Date Posted: 2001-04-14

“Wonder Full Okinawa” could mean both wonderful Okinawa and Okinawa full of wonders. This book covers unique Okinawan customs, people, food and more with eloquent illustrations, and funny explanations in Okinawan dialect, Japanese and English. The book attracted big attention when it was published in January and the first printing was sold out immediately.

The illustrator and author of this book, Kiyoshi Shimazawa is a prolific graphics designer. In ’75 when he worked for the government, he produced Kala-Bow, which is the symbol character of surf shop “Kalakaua,” the first in Okinawa. The character soon became a hit. In ’80 Shimazawa decided to quit his government job and become a designer, and to move to Hawaii at the same time. He kept sending his new work and ideas to his office in Okinawa for four years while he enjoyed his favorite hobby, surfing.

The publisher of the book and Shimazawa’s manager, Eko Ota is like Shimazawa, a tension-free person. She is the first and only Hawaiian hula dancer in Okinawa who is an immediate student, Kumu, of a living national treasure of hula, George Nope, from studio “Kalakaua” in Hawaii. Shimazawa and Ota have been just creating things because they could not find anything else they wanted to do.

The logo for the 20th anniversary of Urasoe City that Shimazawa created in ’86 has been used until now. His career starter, Kala-Bow, which is also on the cover page of his book, is now 26 years old. Ota said “Shimazawa became a multi-artist because he accepted any job and request and that has given him experience in many fields. His style attracts not only Japanese but also people abroad.”

The pair has been thinking it would be very interesting to express comically the miscellaneous differences that exist between Okinawa, mainland Japan and the U.S. It took the pair over ten years to turn their ideas into this book.

Kiyoshi Shimazawa, an author with positive Hawaiian spirit
Publisher “Kalakauaart & Design” 878-5654, email:kalakaua@nirai.ne.jp

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