”Amakuma” comes from “Amahai Kumahai” in the Okinawan language which means “here and there.” Ryukyu is the older name for Okinawa, once an independent nation; from the Amami Islands to the south as far as Okinawa are thus, referred to as the Ryukyu Islands sharing the same cultural background. Wishing to deliver Okinawa now and in the past, from North to South, we have named this project “Amakuma Ryukyu.”
Not only does this target the Japanese, but the entire globe, to widely communicate the culture, entertainment, history, society, and nature of Okinawa in English and Japanese.
In 1992, a collection of essays was published as Okinawa Iroiro Jiten (Shinchosha Publishing Co.) Once you start learning about these islands, your interests will never see an end. Countless Naichaas (people from mainland Japan) who fell in love with the island have written essays based on their chosen Okinawa-related keywords. Accompanied by the photographs of Tarumi Kengo, this became an introductory book to all the Naichaas who have yet to see the Island.
7 years later, it was turned into a CD book, Okinawa Nandemo Jiten, having welcomed essays by “Uchinanchu” (people from Okinawa) talking about their own islands. The number of writers increased from 49 to 170; the essays, from 214 to 439; sound and films were also newly included. Unlike the descriptive guidebooks, the fresh and engaging texts depict the hands-on experience by the writers and illustrate Okinawa as it is.
Unfortunately, this CD book is unavailable with today’s OS. Hence, we have decided to establish our non-profit organization, Amakuma Ryukyu, to release this website with the hope to share these precious essays with the world.
Now, 20 years past, there are parts of Okinawa that have changed and other parts that remained unchanged.
For the essays describing the unchanging Okinawa, we will publish the texts as they were when they were first written and update those talking about the renewed Okinawa, while also adding new topics.
Alongside the texts, images of Okinawa taken by photographers over the past 40 years will be showcased together and will stimulate your imagination about what the island looks like. In the near future, we will introduce Okinawan sounds and footage and thus, create a website that grows with time.
Furthermore, the most crucial characteristic of this website is that all the essays will not only be published in their original Japanese but also in English.
We wish that this could be an occasion for the foreigners visiting Okinawa and American soldiers stationed in Okinawa to learn and understand the island even better.
Okinawan immigrants have spread all over the world. If their descendants ever want to learn about Okinawa, this website will serve as a clue to their origin. At the same time, we hope this to be a place to address the world about Okinawan society simultaneously.
By adding the keywords that help understand Okinawa, we will deliver to you the Islands’ past, present, and future, which could bring to life a global community of people in love with Okinawa.
The non-profit organization Akumakuma Ryukyu was established in 2016 to produce the website ‘Akumakuma Ryukyu’ which aims to deliver Okinawa to the world.
The members of NPO AmakumaRyukyu are as follows;
- Co-representatives : Senri Miyazato/ Takashi Ito
- Board of directors : Natsuki Ikezawa, TARUMI Kengo, Tatsuhiko Kano,
- Tsutomu Makiya, Kazuhiro Shinjo,
- Audit: Yuriko Uehara
- Supervisor：Takashi Ito
- WEB design and programming：Moriyasu Murayama
- Editor：Teruko Ikemiya, Miwako Nishino, Tomoko Hirose
- Translator：Laurel Taylor, Hutoshi Miyagi, Kirin Sugino, A.K.A.