Society of Hawaii


Membership Meeting Officers for 2006-2007

Third Saturday of each month

(No meeting in December)

9 am to 12 pm

Hawaii Okinawa Center

(Serikaku Chaya)
94-587 Ukee Street
Waipahu, Hawaii 96797

(Call 676-5400 to confirm date and time.)

Tom Shimabuku
Fred Shinsato

Sally Tsuda

Stanley Uehara
Harris Shiroma
Nancy Yogi

Vice President

Assistant Treasurer
Past President

We meet on the 3rd Saturday of every month (except December)
at 9 AM at the Hawaii Okinawa Center.
Come and join us!
(Please call the HOC at 808-676-5400 to confirm time and place.)

Ryukuan Names by Robert Kishaba.

Link to Hawaii State Dept of Health Vital Records - Genealogy Requests

Excerpts from the OGSH meeting notices . . .
The genealogical bureau, Keizu-sa, was established in 1689 when noble families were ordered to compile genealogical records for review by the Keizu-sa.  On approval, two copies were made, one kept by the Keizu-sa and the other, with the official seal stamped on it, for the family.  Of these records about 50% were destroyed by the war -- which means that 50% is still available.
Okinawan New Year Saying: Waka dushi tui mi sooti ii shogwachii yabin. Kundu ganjyu shimi soore.

Means: Take a young age and have a good New Year. Please stay healthy this year.

Okinawa is one of 47 prefectures of Japan with 160 islands of which 40 are inhabited. It is the only prefecture of Japan which was once an independent kingdom, just like Hawaii is the only state in the United States which was once an independent kingdom.

The islands span from Kyushu and Taiwan in the easterly Eurasian Continent. The prefecture faces Taiwan and China to the west across the East China Sea, the Philippines to the south, and North America across the Pacific Ocean. Naha City is the capital of Okinawa.

The geographical location has brought cultural riches from all over the world to these small islands since it was a kingdom of its own. During the 14th and 15th centuries, Ryukyu was a prosperous maritime kingdom trading with Japan, China, Sumatra, Vietnam, Siam, Mallaca, and Java.

The name of Ryukyu was first adopted in a Chinese document. Soon after, many variations of its name were used to document relations with Ryukyu. There are more than 60 variant spellings of "Ryukyu". Some of them are: Loo Chew, Doochoo, Kekyo, Lequeyo, Lequeo, Lequeo, Lew Chew, Lew Kew, Lexio, Lieco Kieoo, and Riukiu.

The name Ryukyu was used from the Meiji period (1868) and then again during the U.S. Occupation. The term Okinawa was used from 1872 (during the abolishment of the Ryukyu Kingdom) until the end of the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. In ancient times, the present Taiwan was called Lequo Minor and Okinawa was called Leque Major.

April is "Seimesai" season, a time set aside to honor deceased forefathers. During this period family members and relatives gather at their ancestral tombs to have a clan get together. Various songs and dance are performed to entertain the souls of those passed away and an offering of traditional delicacies is laid before the mouth of the tombs. The traditional fare at "Seimeisai" festivals include foods like tempura, pork, potatoes, daikon, carrots, seaweed, fish, boiled eggs, rice balls and fishcake.

Observance of "Seimeisai" is of Taoist influence, an old Chinese philosophy brought to Okinawa by Chinese who first settled in the Kume District of Naha City. The custom was originally adopted by King Sho Boku in 1768 and was at first only practiced by royal families. As years passed the ritual came to be conducted by the common people as part of their ancestor worship.

OGSH Guidebooks are available to help members get started on genealogy research. Includes "how-to" tips, forms, resources, and historical information. Great resource for just $5 to cover cost of materials and printing.
Annual dues are $10.
Dr. Masahide Ishihara generously donated books in English for our collection. Anyone interested in borrowing may do so. The books are: Assault on the Empire, Okinawa 1945; The Government of the Kingdom of Ryukyu, 1609-1872; Okinawa no Sugao, Profile of Okinawa; Speaking Out on Okinawa; and Okinawa in the News.
Yushigutu is the Okinawan word for a proverb or words of wisdom and enlightenment and many are written in poems. One such poem reflects the benefits of doing the best that we can for the sake of others which can be applied to servicing others as volunteers:

Waga makutu tsikuchi
Yusuru tami shiriba
Tusu tamin nadunu
Tamidu nayuru

"If one earnestly makes efforts for the sake of another, soon these efforts will be for the sake of yourself."

The cycad plant was a crucial lifeline to Okinawans during the war and right after the war for survival. It provided food and water. The seeds, from the center of the plant in a fluffy nest, is red and boiled to eat. Although it is poisonous, it is boiled to remove the toxin and also used to make a type of miso. There are many varieties of cycads, but the most rare plant, at present, is the golden sotetsu.