Deigo Club members enjoyed each other’s company at their annual shinnen enkai on April 2 at the Natsunoya Tea House. The program featured Okinawan and Japanese karaoke singing and dancing by member, live Okinawan music by Ryukyu Koten Afusoryu Ongaku Kenkyu Choichi Kai USA, along with lots of door prizes.
Tadashi Kinjo, who succeeded koto sensei Yasuko Arakawa as the club president, grew up in Okinawa. He thanked the members for attending the party and wished them all a happy and prosperous 2017.
The Deigo Club was established in 1949 by Kibei-Nisei of Okinawan ancestry who had spent some of their early childhood and/or adolescent years in Okinawa. The founders — a few of whom attended the party, including Robert Nakamoto, Masa Nakama and Kenyu Tokuda (who died recently) — decided to name their club after the official flower of Okinawa, the deigo blossom. The early members held their meetings and social gatherings at the old Waialae Shogakko.
Most of the current members immigrated to Hawai‘i after World War II, but retain close ties to their motherland and fellow native Uchinanchu in the Islands. Membership, however, is open to anyone interested the Okinawan community and culture.