The Deigo Club marked the 70th anniversary of its founding with a special gathering at the Hawaii Okinawa Center on Oct. 27, putting on a show that featured performers from Hawai‘i’s various Okinawan music and dance studios.
The celebratory “Karii!” and “Kampai!” toasts were offered by Hawaii United Okinawa Association president Jocelyn “Jo” Ige and Deigo Club past president Stanley Oshiro.
Highlighting the program was minyö performer Hajime Nakasone from Okinawa. The 31-year-old Nakasone has visited Hawai‘i several times, most recently this past summer for the Okinawan Festival. He brought his grandparents, Seiko and Yoshiko Nakasone, along on this trip. Hajime-san invited his grandfather, Seiko-san, who is 81, to join him onstage to play sanshin and sing a song.
The Deigo Club was established in 1949 as a social club by about 30 Kibei Nisei. Three original club members attended the celebration — Masaru Nakama, Robert Nakamoto and Yasu Uyema. Over the years, the membership grew to include mainly postwar immigrants from Okinawa who enjoyed getting together with their fellow emigrants and speaking Uchinaaguchi (Okinawan language).