|A Fun Gathering,
the Chicago Okinawa Kenjinkai
• The Chicago Okinawa Kenjinkai’s 49th New Year Party took place at the Midwest Buddhist Temple on March 14, and all ages from children to the elderly enjoyed home-made food, Okinawan dance and music, and conversations.
• The Kenjinkai is an association of people from Okinawa
prefecture and their families and friends. It has preserved Okinawa’s
traditional performing arts, and the annual party is a big stage for the
members to show their skills. They get together on weekends and practice
music, dances, taiko drumming, and others for the day.
• A highlight of the party was introduction of Shisa,
a pair of lion dogs. Shisa is a protectorate god and usually seen at Okinawans’
houses. With help of Keiko Yonaha and others, goodwill ambassador Ikuko
Nicoles made it possible to bring the pair to Chicago. (The story was
published in Shimpo’s 2014 October 21st issue and is available at ChicagoShimpo.com)
• The last piece of program was, of course, Kachashi. Special guest Deputy Consul General Keiko Yanai, JCCC’s Executive Director Tetsuo Mitani, and Japanese Club’s President Toshio Ogino joined the Kenjinkai members, and all enjoyed dancing Kachashi.
• Chicago Okinawa Kenjinkai will celebrate its
50th anniversary next year, and a special program has been planned.