Sunday, June 10, 2007

Calling All Uyehara Families From Yonabaru Chu


I recently received an email from someone researching the Uyehara family of Yonabaru, Okinawa. Looking over my records, I was reminded of why this task is very daunting. My family tree is filled with unrelated Uyeharas and Ueharas. Family members tend to be healthy and very long-lived, which makes a great case for their separate lineages.

Apparently, Uyeharas (or Uehara) in Okinawa are more common than are Smiths in the U.S. If there are any Uyehara families out there, from Yonabaru-chu, we'd be so grateful if you'd chime in here and give us a synopsis of your family history and lineage.

In the meantime, nissei+ Uchinanchu might be interested in rediscovering their rich culture through various avenues. Visit the website of the Hawaii United Okinawa Association, or if you live outside of Hawaii, browse through the Overseas Network of Okinawan associations ~ join one if it's near enough. Listen to the sweet voice and sanshin of Rimi Natsukawa in beautiful songs like Nada Sousou (which inspired Hawaiian artist, Keali'i Reichel, to compose Ka Nohona Pili Kai). Okinawan pop or O-pop incorporates traditional instruments of the culture, which makes for a very unique sound.

And perhaps plan to visit Okinawa in 2011 to participate in the next Uchinanchu Taikai. Every five years, Okinawans from all over the world travel to Mashiki, Ginowan City and are welcomed so warmly, they feel as though they have come home. Lately, their official website did away with the English translations of the 2006 Taikai experience, but you can find reports of this 4-day event all over the internet ~ like here.

It's so interesting to learn about the world's ethnic customs, lifestyles, and languages! If nothing else, genealogy gives us an opportunity to appreciate multiculturalism ~ a policy of respect for other cultures. I've learned quite a bit of geography too in the process. So maybe every once in a while (as opportunities arise), I'll share what I've learned right here.

Stay tuned ~ Mataa Mensore!

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