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Okinawa Collection Recent Acquisitions: Prominent Okinawans

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TOYAMA Kyuzo/ 當山久三 (1868-1910)

Toyama advocated for the migration of Okinawans to Hawaii in the hopes that the poor there could have a better life in America after the fall of the Ryukyu Kingdom. He is known as The Father of Okinawan Immigrants. 

For other books by this author, please search at Gelman Advanced Search.

MOTOBU Choki/本部朝基 (1870–1944)

An Okinawan karateka master, Motobu was the founder of the Motobu-ryu style of karate and master of Motobu Udun Di - his family's style of karate. 

IHA Fuyu/伊波普猷 (1876-1947)

Iha Fuyu was a pioneer of Okinawan Studies. He devoted his career to the study of Okinawan culture, customs, linguistics and folklore. 

For other books by this author, please search at Gelman Advanced Search.

MIYARA Choho/ 宮良長包 (1883-1939)

Known for composing over 100 songs and arranging and adapting traditional Yaeyama folk songs and nursery rhymes, Miyara is known at the father of the Okinawan music world, or "Okinawa's Stephen Foster". 

GUSHIKUSEN Sosei/ 具志堅宗精 (1896-1979)

Gushikusen was a former Okinawan police officer and the Governor of the Miyako Civil Government under the U.S. administration of Okinawa. He is the founder of Orion Beer, an Okinawan beer company. 

AHAGON Shoko/ 阿波根昌鴻 (1901-2002)

During the Bulldozers and Bayonets campaign of 1955, Ahagon was a fervent protestor against the U.S. military's assault on Okinawans. He upheld non-violent resistance as a main tenet of this movement and was subsequently nicknamed the "Okinawan Gandhi." 

For other books by this author, please search at Gelman Advanced Search.

SHIMADA Akira/ 島田叡 (1901-1945?)

Shimada was the governor of Okinawa from January 1945 until his death in the Battle of Okinawa. He is the namesake for the Shimada Cup in Japanese high school baseball. 

YARA Chobyo/ 屋良朝苗 (1902-1997)

Yara was the 1st Governor of Okinawa Prefecture (1972-1976) after its reversion to Japan in 1971. He also served as Chief Executive to the Ryukyu Islands from 1968-1972.

NAKASONE Seizen/仲宗根政善 (1907-1995)

Nakasone was an Okinawan teacher and linguist who became a leading instructor for the Himeyuri during the Battle of Okinawa. 

For other books by this author, please search at Gelman Advanced Search.

SENAGA Kamejiro/ 瀬長亀次郎 (1907-2001)

A former mayor of Naha city, Senaga was an avid opponent of the U.S. military occupation of Okinawa and once imprisoned for sheltering Communists. He later joined the House of Representatives on behalf of the Japanese Communist Party. 

For other books by this author, please search at Gelman Advanced Search.

HIGA Taro/ 比嘉太郎 (1916-1985)

Thomas Taro Higa was a WWII veteran that served in the U.S. 100th Infantry Battalion alongside other Japanese-Americans. Speaking both English, Japanese and Okinawan, Higa helped to prevent the killing of Okinawan civilians during the Battle of Okinawa. 

HOKAMA Shuzen/外間守善 (1924-2012)

One of Okinawa's most influential linguists, Hokama is credited as the creator of Okinawan studies -- including its traditional culture, language and literature.

OHAMA Nobumoto/大濱信泉 (1891-1976)

Ohama was an accomplished professor and 7th president of his alma mater, Waseda University. To commemorate his remarkable achievements in public good, he received the Medal with Blue Ribbon from the Japanese government in 1962. He is also known to be the president of the Japan Federation of Private Universities and the Okinawa International Ocean Exposition. 

Oshiro Tatsuhiro/大城立裕 (1925-)

Best known for his Akutagawa Prize winning novel The Cocktail Party, Oshiro is also known as the innovator for the traditional Ryukyuan dance, kumi odori

OTA Masahide/ 大田昌秀 (1925-2017)

Ota served as the 4th Governor of Okinawa from 1990 to 1998. He served as a professor at the University of the Ryukyus, focusing on the Battle of Okinawa and opposing the American occupation of Okinawa. 

TAIRA Toshiko/平良敏子 (1927- )

Taira Toshiko is an Okinawan textile artist, predominantly creating Kijoka-bashofu - cloth made with fibers from the Musa basjoo tree. Taira has been recognized as a Living National Treasure since 2000. 

MATAYOSHI Eiki/ 又吉栄喜 (1947-)

Considered one of the most important contemporary novelists from Okinawa, Matayoshi notably sets all of his novels in the Okinawan archipelago. He won the Akutagawa Prize in 1996 for 豚の報いButa no mukui, "The Pig's Retribution". 

For other books by this author, please search at Gelman Advanced Search.

MEDORUMA Shun/目取真俊 (1960-)

Medoruma is an award-winning author. He won the Akutagawa Prize in 1997 for his novel 水滴, Suteki "A Drop of Water" and became the first Okinawan author to have a full-length novel translated and published in English.

For other books by this author, please search at Gelman Advanced Search.

AMURO Namie/ 安室奈美恵 (1977-)

Hailed as the "Queen of Japanese Pop", Amuro Namie is a Japanese pop singer, dancer, songwriter, producer, model and actress. She retired from the entertainment world in 2018. 

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