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.
Publication Date: 1959
Call number: GRC JRC DS884.T7 K98 1959
Gift from Japanese Americans' Care Fund MD Library
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 was a pioneer of Okinawan Studies. He devoted his career to the study of Okinawan culture, customs, linguistics and folklore.
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 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.
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."
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 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 was an Okinawan teacher and linguist who became a leading instructor for the Himeyuri during the Battle of Okinawa.
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.
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.
One of Okinawa's most influential linguists, Hokama is credited as the creator of Okinawan studies -- including its traditional culture, language and literature.
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.
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 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 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.
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".
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.
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.