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World Uchinanchu Festival called ‘resounding success’

Date Posted: 2006-10-19

More than 3,900 Okinawans living abroad migrated back to Okinawa for the 4th World Uchinanchu Festival, which wrapped up Sunday.

Joining hands with the theme “Let’s made the worldwide Uchinanchu (meaning Okinawan people) spirit expand everywhere around the world, people poured into convention halls, sports stadiums and entertainment venues to celebrate the four-day event. The World Uchinanchu Festival is staged once every four years.

An estimated 23,000 spectators joined the nearly four thousand overseas Okinawans who returned home for the festivities in the final ceremonies at the Okinawa Convention Center and Kaihim Park, where they heard the Prefecture Governor praise their efforts.

“There are over 360,000 Uchinanchu living around the world,” said Keiichi Inamine, “and this festival shows how much Okinawan hearts are together and always looking for that feeling being in their hometowns.” He praised the ingenuity of Okinawans for establishing a peoples network that keeps information flowing everywhere in the world.

Kaihim Park in Ginowan was filled with visitors and locals rubbing shoulders and sharing how “there ‘s no place like home” and hearing invitations “to come back again, to home.” They all danced together to the music of Diamante, and called for the Uchinanchu Festival to continue forever. The final attraction, an hour-long “Compositional Theatre” attended by more than 400 people, saw dancing, eisa, taiko drums, recitations and theatre as they sat side-by-side with performers.

Special tributes were offered to “obaa”, recognizing the Okinawa longevity that is well above the rest of the world. “obaa”, the old ladies, can live a slow and relaxed life more than anybody, anywhere, and visitors praised Okinawa “obaa” as having the most beautiful minds and spirit of any people.

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