GARDENA — On Saturday, Sept. 10, at 1 p.m. Pacific Time, the Okinawa Association of America (OAA) will host their second information session for the 7th Worldwide Uchinaanchu Taikai/Festival in October. It will be held virtually on Zoom.

For attendees who do not have Internet access, a very limited number of in-person spots will be available at the OAA Center in Gardena. Registration is required: tinyurl.com/oaa-taikai-22 (the Zoom link will be emailed to you)

After the 2021 postponement, the Okinawa Prefectural Government has officially decided that this year’s Taikai/Festival will be both in-person and virtual (Oct. 30-Nov. 3). Parties who are interested in traveling to Okinawa for the festivities are highly encouraged to attend the OAA’s information session to learn about the latest travel restrictions, risks, and registration processes. Those who attended the first information session are also encouraged to attend, as parts of that presentation are now out of date.

Established in 1990, the Festival/Taikai is hosted by the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) and serves as a grand “homecoming” for Okinawan immigrants and descendants. Participants from Argentina to Zimbabwe have attended.

This is a fantastic opportunity for Okinawans to deepen their roots as well as interact with international communities, with an extensive range of activities ranging from festive outdoor gatherings to classical theater performances; global cultural exchanges to leadership symposiums; and even tournaments for karate and eisaa drumming. Several of the activities have multilingual accessibility.

This Festival/Taikai is the only event of its kind in all of Japan. Okinawa Prefecture was once the independent Ryūkyū Kingdom and that sense of unique identity and rich cultural heritage has remained strong among Okinawan natives, those who emigrated, and descendants around the world. The first Okinawan immigrants arrived in California over a century ago.

The OAA-hosted session on Sept. 10 will be a hybrid event with a limited in-person option to assist those without Internet access. In-person attendees are required to RSVP (walk-ins not accepted) and follow the OAA’s COVID-19 safety protocols. The event will be recorded and an edited version will be available at a later date.

Although the OAA will not be handling travel arrangements, support and registration assistance will be available for current OAA members (free with membership) and non-members (service fee applies). Interested parties are also encouraged to visit the Festival/Taikai’s official multilingual website: http://wuf2022.com

Contact the OAA for more information: (310) 532-1929 (leave a message), oaamensore@gmail.com. The OAA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting Okinawan culture. Facebook/Instagram: @oaamensore

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