The 1st International Uchinanchu Ancestry Symposium

On October 15th, as part of the Fifth Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival in Okinawa, organizers held the “1st International Uchinanchu Ancestry Symposium” at the Okinawa Prefectural Museum.  The panelists were Tokiko Bazzell, Japan Studies Librarian in the UH Library, Professor Masayuki Dana of Okinawa International University, Masaaki Hokama, Chief Curator of the Historical Museum of Naha Civic Culture, and Shinji Yonamine, President of the Okinawa Kenjinkai of Brazil.  Symposium MC was Liz Teruya.  The program, building on the Uchima Family Genealogy restoration project, a collaboration between UH Library and thePrefecturalMuseum, explored the importance of genealogies to historians, and to the families themselves in preserving and documenting the past.  Presenters discussed how to gain access to existing genealogies through museums and libraries.  (Bazzell highlighted the UH Sakamaki-Hawley Collection, which now includes the newly restored Uchima Family document.)

Hawai‘i Governor Neil Abercrombie opened the event with a rousing 15-minute speech on the significance of the Okinawan diaspora in the world, and the importance of tracking genealogies.  The over 100 attendees engaged in a lively question and answer period after the panel presentations.