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Okinawa art treasures gain international status

Date Posted: 2005-03-25

A picture and a house are now more important than ever.

Both have been added to the World’s Cultural Assets List.

“Ryukyu Arts Researching Picture” taken by Yoshitaro Kamakura is now on the international cultural properties list. It is owned by Okinawa Prefecture’s Arts and Music University.

The other is a house owned by Kinjo Masaharu in Itoman City. It was registered as a tangible asset last Friday.

The picture by Yoshitaro Kamakura is famous in Okinawa. Kamakura was born in mainland Japan’s Kagawa Prefecture, and moved to Okinawa in 1921. He spent several years here as a teacher, then returned later as a researcher. His picture of the old Shuri Castle and the King provided an inside look at the world.

The Kinjo house has been a public tea house since 1998. The cultural assets status preserves the building against being demolished in the future. Itoman’s Mayor, Kayuu Nishihiri, says “our city was a very fierce battle area during the last World War. During the last 60 years though, this house has been alive with Itoman people. It’s a miracle the house wasn’t burned by the war.”

A local resident, Kazuo Kinjo, 69, says “I remember this house had been a villge office and a people’s health center before the war. It was also a shelter against typhoons. We must keep this house forever.”

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