At the annual Fall Commencement for UH Mānoa on December 17th, 2012, Mr. Shinichi Maehara, retired Executive Director at Okinawa Television Broadcasting (OTV), received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters – the first Okinawan to receive this degree from UH. The honor took note of his contributions to the understanding of Okinawans around the world through a television series Uchinanchu Worldwide, which he wrote, directed, and produced from 1987 through 2004. The globe-trotting Dr. Maehara met and interviewed hundreds of relocated Okinawans in South America, Europe, Hawai‘i, and even Africa. The series speaks to UHM’s vision of maintaining a sense of place while becoming part of the global community.
On the evening before Commencement, Chancellor Virgina Hinshaw joined the UHM Center for Okinawan Studies and Center for Japanese Studies in hosting a reception at College Hill for Mr. Maehara, his family, and friends and relatives of Hawaii residents who had been featured in the television series over the years. On the day after Commencement, Dr. Maehara gave a presentation at the Architecture Auditorium, sharing what he considered to be the important lessons of the project.
Through the generous support of OTV and Nippon Golden Network, a complete set of the Uchinanchu Worldwide series, with English subtitles, is available through the UH library system (Sinclair Library; Wong AV Center).