The year 2020 will mark the 120th anniversary of the arrival of the first Okinawans in Hawai‘i. A project to commemorate that milestone is currently in the works, with the final product being a multimedia collection of original works about Okinawan heritage in Hawai‘i. The theme is “Our Okinawan Heritage in Hawai‘i.” Submissions are being accepted through June 30.
Production of the collection is being funded in part by a cultural grant from Hui O Laulima. The goal is to have the final product ready for release sometime in 2020.
The anthology will contain original materials submitted by people in the community about what it means to be Uchinanchu in Hawai‘i. According to the project editors — Lynette Teruya, Allison Yanagi and Jodie Ching — this collection different from others because it is not limited to written literary materials, but will also include other media and different forms of expression.
The commemorative multimedia collection will be as creative as the works people choose to submit in order to leave something for future generations. Submissions will likely include essays, poems, short stories, oral histories, drawings/paintings, photographs, computer graphics, any other art form, music and dance. Multiple submissions are welcome and efforts will be made to include as many submissions as possible.
Teruya, Yanagi and Ching are previous recipients of Okinawa Prefectural Government scholarships. They studied in Okinawa and are involved in Okinawan performing arts. They devised this project to commemorate the upcoming 120th anniversary, hoping to strengthen the bonds between the past, present and future generations of the Okinawan community while also showcasing people’s creativity/talent in telling stories of being Uchinanchu in Hawai‘i.
“When people tell their own stories and speak for themselves, they are empowered,” said the editors. “This project is an opportunity, especially for those ‘voices’ that have yet to be heard, to create an impression in our memory foam of the Okinawan community.”