Haebaru Culture Center was bustling with people in anticipation of the discussion and live concert by various speakers and Ukwanshin. People came out after the typhoon the day before, and listened to Hawaii connections and experiences of Okinawa identity, revitalization, and music.
The evening began with the Haebaru High School students performing Kagiyadefu, Tanchame, andKurushima Kuduchi. Haebaru is the only HS in Okinawa that has an actual elective class for the Okinawan performing arts. They performed with energy and the feeling that they wanted to do what they were doing. Awesome!
The night continued with short discussion section of panelists. ( Izumi Higa of the Okinawa Performing Arts University, past foreign exchange students for the performing arts university, Darcy Gibo, Brandon Ing, then folowed by Okinawan ceramics artist Yoshio Akamine, Okinawan revitalization activist Byron Higa, and Ukwanshin.)
The program broke for food set up, all made and donated by the Haebaru town oba-ta. Ukwanshin then performed and the Haebaru HS students joined in with spontaneous dancing , he-shi, taiko. Everyone had a great time. During the singing we talked about Okinawa identity and how dangerous it is now that the lanugage is dying. Also on how important it is to preserve our culture and identity for the sake of all the prejudice and suffering of our ancestors. The students and audience connected and everyone agreed that we need to continue the connection and networking.