Hilson Reidpath, a PhD student of the Japanese literature in EALL, has taken First Place in the inaugural Okinawan Essay Contest, sponsored by the Okinawa Prefectural Government and George Washington University, with support from the UH Center for Okinawan Studies.  Open to undergrads and grad students in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, or Hawaii, the aim of the contest was to “facilitate further discussions on Okinawa’s future and to support new efforts to address different challenges.”

Reidpath’s essay looked at the Okinawan poet Yamanokuchi Baku (1903-1963), who spent most of his writing career in Tokyo. In the essay, Reidpath addresses issues of race, identity, and “passing.”

First Prize is $500, plus a trip to Washington D.C. to receive the award at George Washington University, which possesses an excellent Okinawa-focused collection in its library (the pictures above/below are from the award reception at Washington D.C.). Reidpath will also receive a week-long trip to Okinawa this summer to further his studies. As an added bonus, the contest organizers arranged for Hilson to have a half-hour meeting with Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki when he visited Hawai’i in March.

Congratulations Hilson!


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