Okinawan Festival


Year Started 1980
Organizers David Arakaki, Joyce Chinen, Russell Ganiko, Michael Goya, Dennis Higa, Milton Higa, Nelson Higa, Isaac Hokama, Donna Iha, Ann Kamimura, Kenneth Kaneshiro, Roy Kaneshiro, Sandra Kaneshiro Cabalo Edward Kino, Ken Kiyabu, Ed Koja, Gayle Takamine Lau , Carol Miyashiro, Gary Mijo, Emily Oshiro Nakama, Masaru Nakama, Michael Nakama, Lorene Nakamine, Dennis Nakasato, Mayuri Nakasone, Lynn Yamashiro Oshiro, Laurie Nishihara Shinsato, Deborah Shiroma, Jill Taira, Cyrus Tamashiro, Fred Teruya, Ronald Tokuda, Jay Tsukayama, Linda Nakama Tsutsui, Joanne Uyehara, Tammi Yonamine Miyade, Nathan Yoshimura, George Zakahi
Original Officers  
Past President
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            In October 1980, 37 sansei (3rd generation immigrant) leaders were chosen by their local sonjinkai to participate in a Young Leadership Aloha Exchange Tour sponsored by the Okinawa Prefectural government.  These individuals took this opportunity to meet relatives, form new friendships, and set foot upon the soil of their heritage.  They returned to Hawaii with a renewed interest and affection for their Okinawan ancestors and culture.

            This group, rejuvenated by their experience, decided to form an organization for young adults who shared an interest in Okinawan culture and heritage.  The Young Okinawans of Hawaii (“YOH”) believed that an organization which emphasized participation by the younger generation would promote comfortable social interaction and generate fresh ideas.  Membership was open to anyone from all ethnic backgrounds seeking to engage in fellowship and interested in learning more about the Okinawan culture.  These young leaders envisioned that its members would go on to provide leadership in their respective provincial HUOA clubs and continue to perpetuate the Okinawan spirit throughout the community.

            Thanks to the efforts of many hard-working and dedicated members, the Young Okinawans of Hawaii is now almost 30 years old and has succeeded in providing fine leaders throughout the Okinawan community and attracting many interesting and talented new members.  Throughout the past 30 years YOH has not forgotten the goals set forth by the charter members.  The current members are committed to carrying on the responsibility to provide fellowship and leadership to any individual who shares YOH’s commitment to perpetuate the Okinawan history, culture and spirit here in Hawaii. 

            YOH remains very active throughout the entire year by accepting invitations to participate with Bon Dances all across the State, assisting with the annual Hawaii United Okinawa Association (“HUOA “) Okinawan Festival, having karaoke parties, tailgating or fundraising at U.H. football games, coordinating the annual Senior Citizens Christmas Luncheon, participating in the HUOA softball, volleyball, and bowling leagues, doing fellowship projects with other HUOA clubs and encouraging and supporting members to pursue cultural performance activities, and participating with the HUOA Leadership Tour and Okinawa Student exchange programs.  YOH has always emphasized participation in various cultural, social, athletic and service projects.  YOH membership has included individuals representing all the professional fields, business owners, tradesmen, and highly recognized and accredited cultural and music instructors.

            We hope that this sheds a little more light on the purpose, function, and goals of our club.  If there are any other questions, inquiries, or if you just want to find out more about YOH, we can be reached by calling the Hawaii Okinawan Center or writing to The Young Okinawans of Hawaii, P.O. Box 30965, Honolulu, Hawaii 96820.  The Young Okinawans of Hawaii will strive to continue its mission to instill the Okinawan Spirit in our precious youth.  However, we ask for the support of the Okinawan and larger Hawaii community to encourage your young people to get involved and assist us in our efforts to perpetuate the culture and heritage which our issei and nissei worked so hard to preserve.

YOH Group