Shisa Statues Installation Ceremony & Reception

Photo of President Teruo Iwamasa and Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw; photo courtesy of Ms. Tokiko Bazzell

On June 29, the UHM Chancellor’s office, the UHM Library, COS, and CJS held an installation ceremony and reception for the newly installed shisa statues donated by the University of the Ryukyus. More than sixty community members, faculty, and students came to officially welcome the shisa statues to their new location on the UHM campus, between Hamilton Library and Paradise Palms.

Marking the beginning of the evening, the Hawai’inuiakea Protocol Team, the Tuahine Troupe, began with an oli (a Hawaiian chant) to celebrate the friendship between the University of the Ryukyus (UR) and UH.  Honoring this relationship, UR President Teruo Iwamasa (who was visiting UH for the first time) and Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw together put lei’s on the two statues, as seen in the photo above.

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Shīsā Statue Installation Ceremony

Date: Friday, June 29

Time: 4:00-4:15 pm

Location: In between Hamilton Library and Paradise Palms Café on Maile Way at UHM

Commemorating the establishment of the Center for Okinawan Studies at UHM, the University of the Ryukyus is donating an original pair of shīsā (lion-dog) statues to the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. A traditional talisman of Okinawa, shīsā are guardians who protect against disasters and bring happiness to those they serve. The presence of shīsā on the UHM campus symbolizes friendship and peace between UHM and the University of the Ryukyus. For more information about the shīsā, please see this link.

The University of the Ryukyus and UHM have a long relationship of collaboration on research, joint conferences/symposia, and student exchanges. In 2008, UHM established the Center for Okinawan Studies, the only such research center of its kind outside of Japan. A world-class collection of Okinawan materials (Sakamaki-Hawley Collection) is at UHM Library-partial funding to purchase the original collection from the late English journalist Frank Hawley came from Hawaii’s Okinawan community. For more information on the Center for Okinawan Studies and the Library Okinawa Collection, please go to their respective websites.

Center for Okinawan Studies:
Library Okinawa Collection:

Former adviser to COS receives Japanese government award

We are pleased to announce that former Senior Adviser to the Center for Okinawan Studies, Mr. Robert Nakasone, has been awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays by the Japanese government in recognition of his contribution to the promotion of friendly relations and mutual understanding between Japan and the United States.  Mr. Nakasone will receive the award at a special ceremony at the Japanese Consulate-General in Honolulu on June 5th.

For more information see:

New Upcoming Course: ANTH 487 Okinawa and Its Diaspora

A brand new course is being offered by the UHM Department of Anthropology during the Fall 2012 semester.  ANTH 487 Okinawa and Its Diaspora will be taught by Dr. Christine Yano.

Here’s an excerpt from the course description:

Anth 487 Okinawa and Its Diaspora (Writing intensive)

Okinawa constitutes a separate but related culture and history within the nation-state of Japan. One of the distinctive features of Okinawa is the degree to which large numbers of its population have emigrated to distant lands, making new homes, while keeping ties to the homeland.  The strong ties of Okinawa’s diaspora have helped foster a sense of identity that is simultaneously Okinawan (link to homeland) and immigrant settler (link to new home).  With generations of these social processes, the ties to and from Okinawa have evolved into new configurations of identity.  This course aims to explore these configurations.

“Champuru” (“something mixed”) is a popular Okinawan dish similar to a stir fry.  Champuru is also used to refer to cultural aspects of Okinawa that emphasizes mixings and hybridity. Historically, Okinawa has developed its character of champuru through political, economic, and cultural interactions transnationally amid uneven relations of power and conflict.  This course examines the relationship between Okinawan and its diaspora through a champuru sense of identity.  What role do culture, politics, and history play in shaping Okinawan identity?  How have different transnational contexts shaped the champuru Okinawan culture(s) and their representations in the homeland and abroad?

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UHM Students and Faculty at Waseda University

UH made a strong showing at recent symposium “Remembering 40 Years Since Reversion”: Okinawan Studies Until Now; Okinawan Studies from Now on,” held at Waseda University from March 29th through the 31st.  Fourteen UH students, faculty, and alumni gave presentations on a wide range of topics, joining colleagues from other universities throughout the world in one of the largest Okinawan Studies conferences in recent years.  The most noticeable feature of the symposium, funded by the Japan Foundatiion, was the large proportion of young scholars presenting their research.  There were also several presentations on the Okinawan diaspora in South America, a topic that rarely gets the attention it deserves.  Most of the UHM students and faculty received funding from one or more of the following sources: the Center for Japanese Studies, the Japan Studies Endowment, the Center for Okinawan Studies, the Okinawan Studies WUB Endowment, the Matsuro and Tsuruko Nakasone Endowment, the College of Languages, Linguistics and Literature, the University Research Council, and the UH Graduate Student Organization.  We are grateful for this broad institutional support for Okinawan Studies.

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