By J.K. YAMAMOTO, Rafu Staff Writer
REDONDO BEACH — “Origin: The Heart of Okinawa’s Uncommon Charm,” featuring a selection of images from award-winning photographer Shokyu Otsuka, was displayed on July 23 and 24 at the Women’s Club of Redondo Beach.
The Redondo Beach Sister Cities organization presented the exhibition in honor of Itoman, Okinawa, which became a sister city of Redondo Beach in 2013.
At the opening reception, Rev. Yasuhiro Oda, assistant pastor at Gospel Venture International Church in Gardena, said, “We sometimes are so busy every day that we forget to know other countries or people, but now we have a great privilege to know each other … People who come here will know Okinawa’s beautiful islands, great culture, also warm people.”
Otsuka said that he has displayed his photographs, which depict everyday life in Okinawa, at six locations in the U.S. and is striving to convey the natural beauty of the island prefecture as well as the heart and soul of its people. In particular, he would like to encourage cultural exchange between the children of both countries.
Assemblymember David Hadley presented a proclamation to Otsuka and Yoshiko Grace Nishihira, whose Okinawan lacquerware was also on display, “in honor of your beautiful artwork.” The exhibit also included Ryukyu indigo hand-dyed textiles by Masanao Shiroma.
Hadley also presented proclamations the Redondo Beach Sister City Committee and to one of the event’s sponsors, Tamiko Uyehara, “in honor of your leadership as Uchinanchu goodwill ambassador of Itoman City, Okinawa, and service with the cultural exchange program.”
Other participants in the ribbon-cutting included Redondo Beach Mayor Steve Aspel, former Mayor Mike Gin, Okinawa Association of America President Shingi Kuniyoshi, Redondo Beach Sister Cities President Joelle Petit-Adkins, and committee member Sheryl Nakano.
The weekend’s activities included performances of traditional Okinawan dance and music and an artist talk by Otsuka.
Photos by J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo