Towards Okinawa traditional karate’s UNESCO registration
On the invitation of Okinawa Prefecture’s designated intangible cultural asset holder Higaonna Morio sensei, some 50 influential karate masters and related people gathered at the Okinawa Karate Kaikan on September 23 to listen to video lectures and exchange opinions on the subject of the UNESCO registration of Okinawa Traditional Karate.
Lecturers were Matsuura Koichiro and Nakahara Nobuyuki. Mr. Matsuura (80 years old) is a diplomat, former UNESCO secretary general and director of the Japan Karate Association. Mr. Nakahara (82 years old) is a former director of the Japan Banking Association and the former chairman of the JKA.
In their speeches, they stressed the importance of having Okinawa traditional karate being included in the list of Japanese intangible cultural heritages in order to succeed in the UNESCO recognition. With this in mind, Okinawa traditional karate must be promoted in all Okinawa through various types of events. The material distributed at the venue can be found here (In Japanese).
In the second half, participants expressed various opinions and ideas on the matter. The chairman of the board of directors of the Shinkōkai, Kiyuna Chōkō sensei stressed the necessity of a movement headed by the Governor of Okinawa Prefecture.
At the end of the meeting, Mrs. Teiko Yonaha-Tursi, a Goodwill Ambassador appointed by the Okinawan Government who resides in New York stated her favorite proverb “Goetsu dōfū (bitter enemies placed by fate in the same boat)” and called out Okinawa karate people to seriously strive for the UNESCO recognition saying “It’s about time!”.