Kadena hosts MOFA Seminar: Airmen learn Okinawan History and Culture

Kadena hosts MOFA Seminar: Airmen learn Okinawan History and Culture

by Senior Airman Omari Bernard
18th Wing Public Affairs

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan –The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Kadena Air Base and the 18th Wing hosted a cultural seminar here June 7, 2017 to promote and enhance mutual understanding between Okinawans and Americans.

"The relationship we have with the local community is one of the foundations for maintaining alliances in this region" said Col. Paul Oldham, 18th Mission Support Group commander. "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs cultural seminar helps our Airmen gain a better understanding of the local culture around them and helps them become better ambassadors."

Education is the key to building mutual understanding between neighbors, according to Kazuhiko Nakamoto, Okinawa Prefectural Archives historian.

Nakamoto spoke of how he came to understand and appreciate American society by studying its history. He went on to educate the Airmen about Okinawan history from the 12th century to the present.

During the seminar, Nakamoto spoke to Airmen about key points in Okinawan history such as the Battle of Okinawa, the U.S. occupation of Okinawa and events leading up to the Koza Riot. He taught Airmen about the importance of becoming good ambassadors and how each military member is seen as a representative of their country.

Nakamoto said he lived in the U.S. for more than a decade and that he still doesn’t understand all of American culture, but by teaching at the MOFA seminar, he hopes to become a bridge that can help Americans understand Okinawan culture better.

“I hope today’s seminar can strengthen the relationship between the military and the local community through culture and understanding,” Nakamoto said. “I think it’s important to understand the history of where you live.”

The seminar concluded with a demonstration of Kobudo, an ancient martial arts technique that originated on Okinawa.

“I think it is important for people who live on Okinawa to discover different parts of Okinawa culture,” said Masahiro Nakamoto, Okinawa Kobudo master. “By embracing the culture, people are able to live in harmony with each other and make friends.”

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