Message from the Chair of
the Committee for the Okinawa Karate UNESCO Listing
Haisai Gusuyo Chu Uganabira
My name is Denny Tamaki, Governor of Okinawa Prefecture, and I am the chair of the Committee for the Okinawa Karate UNESCO Listing. On behalf of the committee members, I would like to offer my greetings to you all.
Karate is part of Okinawa’s cultural heritage that we can proudly present to the world, and it has been developed within the unique history and culture of Okinawa, and carefully passed down to this day.
The character of Okinawa karate lies in its profound waza or the techniques hidden in its kata. Together with a peace-seeking spirit that values courtesy, these make up the essence of karate. This is conveyed through our ancestors’ words: “Do not be hit, and do not hit. Avoiding conflict is the fundamental principle. The goal is peace without incident.”
In Okinawa, there are karate dojo in all local areas where many practitioners from young to old train every day. Karate has long been in Okinawan people’s lives; performed at festivals and celebrations, and also taught at school as part of the curriculum. In this way, karate is a feature of local people’s social lives, and plays a role in strengthening ties between them.
In order to pass on correctly Okinawa karate as a traditional asset and promote Okinawa both inside and outside of the country as the birthplace of karate, Okinawa Prefectural Government is working hard to inscribe Okinawa karate on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. This is being done with the help of the Society for the Advancement of Traditional Okinawa Karate, the Prefectural Assembly, local municipalities, and educational, cultural and academic, tourism and economic, and media organizations.
Being inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List would not only help promote and preserve Okinawa karate, and pass it on to the next generation, it would also contribute to peace and to the stimulation of local regions thanks to enhanced connections through karate.
Karate, born in Okinawa, has spread all around the world, and is now believed to have 130 million practitioners around the world, and has also been chosen as one of the events for the Olympic Games.
In order to achieve such a significant goal as inscription on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List, it is important to gather momentum by bringing together the spirit of Okinawans, people in mainland Japan, and karate lovers across the world.
Let us work together to promote karate for inscription on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Yutasarugutu Unige Sabira! Thank you very much for your cooperation.
Denny Tamaki, Governor of Okinawa Prefecture
Chair of the Committee for the Okinawa Karate UNESCO Listing