May 8, 2019

May 8th Gōya Day

Filed under: resources — Tags: — okinawacollection @ 3:30 PM

May 8th in Okinawa is Gōyā ( or gōya; Okinawan bitter melon) Day!


Gōyā champuru (Okinawan bitter melon dish). A photo taken by pelican, on August 11, 2013. (CC-BY-SA 2.0)

People in Okinawa eat gōyā in many ways, but the most well-known dish is gōyā champurū. According to Nihon daihyakka zensho (日本大百科全書、ニッポニカ), champurū (or chanpurū) means, “a dish in which tofu is used as the main ingredient.”

Did you know that in Malay and in Indonesian, the word “campur” means “mix/stir?” “Nasi campur” is “mixed rice” in Indonesian. The sound campur is very similar to “champurū.”

A scholar named Yamamoto Akiko wonders if champurū might have its origin in Indonesia when the Okinawan soldiers came back to Okinawa from Indonesia after the WWII.

Yamamoto, Akiko. (2017). “Amerika-yu to tabemono,” in Booklet borders, No. 4, Nichijōka sareta kyōkai: sengo no Okinawa no kioku o tabisuru. (Nagoya-shi : Kokkyō Chiiki Kenkyū Sentā, 2017), 46-47. 山本章子、「アメリカ世と食べ物」、『日常化された境界: 戦後の沖縄の記憶を旅する』(名古屋市:国境地域研究センター、2017年)、46-47頁。

Call Number: EAST DS894.99.O375 Y37 2017

September 13, 2018

Hawaiʻi Okinawan-Owned Restaurant Project

Filed under: community — Tags: , — okinawacollection @ 1:00 PM

The Center for Biographical Research and the Center for Oral History in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UH Mānoa) co-sponsor a “brown bag” biography session with 2 speakers; Mr. Gene Kaneshiro and Mr. Howard Takara.

Hawaii Okinawan-Owned Restaurant Project

Image source:

  • Title: Hawaiʻi Okinawan-Owned Restaurant Project: Oral History and Community Archives
  • Speakers: Gene Kaneshiro and Howard Takara
  • Date & Time: October 11, 2018, from noon to 1:15 PM
  • Location: Kuykendall Hall 409A at UH Mānoa upper campus

According to the Center for Biographical Research, “[all] are welcome to attend.”

For more information, please contact the Center for Biographical Research at 808-956-3774 or

Hawaiʻi Okinawan-Owned Restaurant Project had an exhibit at Honolulu Hale in January 2018.

Hawai’i Public Radio has a coverage on the event.

Tanigawa, N. 02 February 2018. “Okinawan Eateries: The Dawn of Honolulu’s Restaurant Scene.” Retrieved from

September 4, 2018

September Fourth is Vintage Awamori Day in Okinawa

Filed under: resources — Tags: — okinawacollection @ 3:00 PM
September 4th is the Vintage Awamori Day!

Vintage Awamori Day Flyer

Image source:

According to the Okinawa Awamori Distillers Association, September 4th is the “Vintage Awamori Day” [=kūsu no hi / 古酒の日]. The Association defines awamori as follows:

Awamori “[u]ses Black koji-mold (aspelligus awamori) and is produced in one time adding rice, “koji” (rice cultured with a mold) and water to “moromi” (main mash). Another feature of “Awamori” is that it is made using rice from Thailand (indica).”


Resources related to Awamori, available at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa:

The 36th Hawaii Okinawan Festival (2018) offered special awamori tasting.

N.s. 14 Aug 2018. “What’s Awamori? Try Japan’s Oldest Spirit at the 2018 Okinawan Festival.” Honolulu Magazine. Retrieved from

January 5, 2017

Muchi Day

Filed under: news — Tags: , — okinawacollection @ 7:00 AM

Mūchī Day / ムーチーの日

In Okinawa some events are celebrated on the Lunar Calendar. This year Mūchī Day (ムーチーの日) falls on January 5. Mūchī means “rice cakes,” mochi (餅) in standard Japanese.

The leaves that are used are gettō (月桃) leaves, which in Okinawa are called sanmin.

getto leaves

[The image of gettō leaves from Japan Knowledge’s “Dijital Daijisen” / ジャパンナレッジ「デジタル大辞泉」より; accessed on December 16, 2016]