2017 Okinawa Bazaar

2017 Bazaar FLYER FRONT

Artwork and design by Jeff Shimane

Okinawa Association of America’s
Annual Okinawa Bazaar & Fundraiser
Sunday, October 8 • 11AM ~ 4PM • OAA Center Parking Lot

16500 South Western Avenue, Gardena 90247
Facebook Event Page

Click on a link below to learn more:

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Okinawan Identity & Our Languages

September 9 (Saturday), 6PM
Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute
Nisei Veterans Memorial Hall
$5 for OAA members, $10 for the public
RSVP: 310-532-1929, oaamensore@gmail.com

A special event focusing on the native languages of Okinawa featuring guest speaker/musician from Hawaii, Brandon Akio Ing!

Gachimayaa – original song written in Uchinaaguchi (with English subtitles)

Let’s Sing Uchinaaguchi, Lesson 1 – animated language lessons

The story of Shūshin kaniʻiri – a song explaining a classical Ryūkyūan musical drama

Watch more:

Kempi Scholarship 2018 – 2019

Kempi 3 copy

Kempi students from Argentina, China, Bolivia, Peru, and U.S. participating in the Grand Sanshin Gathering during the 2016 Worldwide Uchinaanchu Festival. Photo courtesy of Maiya Gessling

Every year, the Okinawa Prefectural Government offers scholarships for young Okinawans (ages 18 to 35) to study in Okinawa for one year. This is a wonderful opportunity for young adults of full or partial Okinawan descent to learn about their ancestral heritage as well as develop relationships with local and international Uchinaanchu.

The program offers two options:

  1. Study at one of the prefecture’s universities
  2. Study a traditional art (e.g., sanshin, dance, textiles, lacquer, sanshin making, cuisine, etc.)

Application requirements include conversational Japanese skills (higher proficiency required for universities) and a relative or family friend who lives in Okinawa to act as a guarantor.

Applications are now available for Southern California applicants at the OAA office or via email by request: 310-532-1929, oaamensore@gmail.com

The application deadline is September 11, but interested parties are encouraged to pick up and read through the application as soon as possible because it will be a highly extensive process.

Information Sessions:

  • July 29, 1PM at the OAA Center, Room 103
  • Mid-August (to be announced)

Here’s a short segment from OTV (Okinawa Television Broadcasting Co., Ltd) that talks about the program and interviews one of the OAA’s nominated participants (Japanese language only):

2017 OAA Members Picnic, Scholarship Awards, Okinawan Bon Dance

Artwork by Teak Oliver

Okinawa Association of America’s Annual Members Picnic
Sunday, July 16 • 11AM ~ 4PM (opens @ 10) • Whittier Narrows Park

750 Santa Anita Avenue, Area E-1, South El Monte • On-site parking fee: $6

(Non-members are also encouraged to attend the event and apply for membership)


Volunteers needed on July 15th and 16th. Click here to see the volunteer schedule and contact us to sign up: 310-532-1929, oaamensore@gmail.com


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2017 Scholarship for Students of Japanese Culture

JPASC Scholarship

Photo courtesy of Michelle Akamine, a past recipient of the scholarship

The Okinawa Association of America (OAA) is currently seeking applicants for the Japanese Prefectural Association of Southern California (JPASC / Nanka Kenjinkai Kyogikai) scholarship award for exceptional students of Japanese culture. We can recommend up to two (2) OAA members (final selection will be done by the JPASC).


Application Requirements:

  • Current member of the OAA with no outstanding dues
    • If the applicant is a dependent, then their parent/guardian must be a current OAA member
    • If the applicant or parent/guardian is a member of another kenjinkai, you may apply through them
  • Between 17 – 27 years of age
  • Dedicated practitioner of a Japanese cultural tradition (e.g. arts, martial arts*, language)
    • * For martial arts, the applicant must have a minimum of ni-dan or equivalent

The applicant will need a recommendation letter from his/her instructor and the OAA, school transcripts, and passport photos.

Please contact the OAA for the application:
310-532-1929, oaamensore@gmail.com

OAA Annual Scholarship for Graduating High School Students (Deadline: May 31)


DEADLINE: May 31, 2017

• Must be fully or partially of Okinawan descent
• Parents (guardians) or applicant must be OAA member(s)
• Minimum GPA of 3.0
• Must be graduating high school in 2017

The awards will be based primarily on academic accomplishments with due consideration given to extracurricular, community activities, and financial needs. The scholarship awards will be presented at the OAA’s Annual Members’ Picnic at Whittier Narrows Recreation Park on Sunday, July 16, 2017 (date subject to change).

Download the OAA HS scholarship application checklist (PDF) and 2017 OAA Scholarship App (PDF) / 2017 OAA Scholarship App (WORD) today! Please contact the OAA for more information at oaamensore@gmail.com or 310-532-1929.

Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival 2017: Okinawan Spotlight

written by Joseph Yoshimasu Kamiya

(Note: this is not an OAA-sponsored event)

It’s that time of year once again — the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) is right around the corner (April 27th through May 11th) with tons of new films and videos produced by and for the Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

As an aspiring filmmaker myself, I believe that representation in the media is important. We need to see more Asians and Pacific Islanders on screen and behind the scenes, which is why we need organizations like Visual Communications (VC) and events like the LAAPFF.

As a fourth generation Uchinaanchu (Okinawan), I always keep an eye out for any and all things Okinawan. That being said, I’d like to spotlight a few films from this year’s festival that were directed by, starring, or curated by Okinawans and Okinawan Nikkei.

(Please note that this not, by any means, an “official” or “comprehensive” list. These are merely recommendations based on my opinions and research.)

Born Bone Boon

Gori / Japan / 2016 / 20 mins

Hitoshi has returned to his hometown of Agunishima, Okinawa to introduce his wife, Yuko, to the family. But Yuko is furious when she’s told the reason for the trip home. The true purpose was for the “senkotsu” ceremony—Agunishima’s continuing custom of cleansing the bones of the dead. This is a heartwarming comedy of a disconnected family discovering their true selves through the ceremony of cleansing bones.

Plays In: Good Bones (Short Films Program)
CGV Cinemas 2
May 2, 2017 9:30 pm
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AUTHOR’S COMMENT: This project was filmed in Okinawa and directed by Okinawan filmmaker and comedian Toshiyuki Teruya. Also known as “Gori,” he is a member of the popular comedy duo Garage Sale and has appeared in a number of Japanese movies and dramas.

Itsy Bitsy Shorts (Free Program)

Running time: 30 minutes, activities to follow

After a brief hiatus, the “Itsy Bitsy Shorts” program is back! This morning program will showcase films for the littlest film lovers. Kids will also explore movie magic through interactive activities, including an appearance by the Echo Park Film Center’s Filmmobile, a school bus transformed into a mobile media classroom.

[Interactive activities include the Echo Park Film Center’s Filmmobile, a film petting zoo, activity stations, and an animation workshop]

Tateuchi Democracy Forum
April 29, 2017 10:00 am
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AUTHOR’S COMMENT: This program was curated by Okinawan American filmmaker and educator, Gena Hamamoto. Ms. Hamamoto has worked with the OAA in the past, screening her short documentary “Typhoon of Steel” at one of our Battle of Okinawa memorial events as well as being a guest speaker at the 2013 Worldwide Youth Uchinaanchu Festival.

Mele Murals

Tadashi Nakamura / Documentary Competition / USA / 2016 / 65 mins

MELE MURALS is a documentary on the transformative power of modern graffiti art and ancient Hawaiian culture for a new generation of Native Hawaiians. At the center of the story are two renowned street artists – Estria Miyashiro (aka Estria) and John Hina (aka Prime) – a group of Native Hawaiian youth, and the rural community of Waimea.

Tateuchi Democracy Forum
April 30, 2017 5:00 pm
Buy Tickets
ENCORE: May 7, 2017 1:00 pm

AUTHOR’S COMMENT: One of the stars of this documentary, Estria Miyashiro, is of Okinawan, Japanese, and Hawaiian descent. His artwork and beliefs are based on the fundamentals of Hawaiian (and Okinawan) spirituality (e.g., reverence for our ancestors and nature). He is truly an inspirational figure and an amazing artist! He is scheduled to be present at the April 30th screening for a Q&A.

Occasionally, I Saw Glimpses of Hawai‘i

Christopher Makoto Yogi / Shorts Competition / USA / 2016 / 15 mins

A film essay looking at 100 years of Hawai‘i in film, explores issues of representation and gender. This filmic deconstruction is a lively, often infuriating examination of Hollywood’s portrayal of the islands, highlighting the essential necessity of homegrown filmmaking.

Plays In: The Sum of My Memory (Short Films Program)
CGV Cinemas 3
April 30, 2017 1:45 pm
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AUTHOR’S COMMENT: The director of this short film, Christopher Makoto Yogi, is half-Okinawan. Two of his original works, “Obake” (a beautifully haunting short film) and “I Was a Simple Man” (a feature film in progress), focus on a Nikkei man in Hawaii who, near the end of his life, is visited by the ghosts of the past.