Shinichi Maehara

Shinichi Maehara is a retired executive director of Okinawa Television Broadcasting Co., Ltd. (OTV). He received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa for his contributions to the understanding of Okinawans worldwide. He was the reporter, producer, and host of the OTV television series, "Sekai no Uchinanchu" for many years.

(Updated March 2013)

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UCHINANCHU WORLDWIDE: STATE OF THE SPIRIT - A Perspective on Okinawans Worldwide and in the “Motherland” - Part 3 of 3

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Playing the sanshin and singing traditional Okinawan songs were also instrumental in Uchināguchi being passed on in the immigrant communities. Even in the South American Uchinanchu communities, Uchināguchi was spoken along with Portuguese and Spanish.

I remember meeting a Nisei Okinawan in Brazil 20 years ago. At first, I spoke to her in Japanese, but she didn’t understand me. I didn’t know what to do because I didn’t know any Portuguese. I was at a loss for words, so I tried speaking Uchināguchi—and she responded, in Uchināguchi.

I was thoroughly surprised that a ...

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UCHINANCHU WORLDWIDE: STATE OF THE SPIRIT - A Perspective on Okinawans Worldwide and in the “Motherland” - Part 2 of 3

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Thus, some Japanese viewed the first Okinawan immigrants as a nuisance. This view was especially strong in Hawai‘i, where emigrants from Japan had begun arriving 15 years earlier, in 1885. Japanese communities were already established on sugar plantations throughout Hawai‘i.

The immigration of a people who did not speak standard Japanese and who had different cultural practices must have been confusing for the Japanese communities. Many who emigrated from Okinawa, Japan’s most impoverished prefecture, did not have the opportunity to receive a proper Japanese education.

The look of scorn from their Japanese co-workers must ...

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UCHINANCHU WORLDWIDE: STATE OF THE SPIRIT - A Perspective on Okinawans Worldwide and in the “Motherland” - Part 1 of 3

On December 2011, veteran Okinawa broadcaster Shinichi Maehara was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa—he was the first Okinawan to receive the degree.

During his career, Maehara visited Hawai‘i many times to interview Hawai‘i Uchinanchu for his documentary series, “Sekai no Uchinanchu” (“Worldwide Okinawans”), which he produced from 1987 to 2004. The degree noted Maehara’s contributions to the understanding of Okinawans worldwide.

Maehara also took time during his visit to run in the Honolulu Marathon and to share his insights on Okinawans worldwide in a talk at ...

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