SOCIETY RESPONDS TO OKINAWA
The Ryukyu America Historical Research Society was founded in 1984 by Dr. Rolf von Scorebrand, a German doctor who played a significant role in restoring the Yagaji Leprosairum after it was destroyed in the Okinawa battle. In 1999, under the new Japan NonProfit Law, the society was officially designated and incorporated as one of Okinawa`s first nonprofit organization.
The society`s original purpose is to find and retrieve Okinawa`s cultural artifacts taken off the island in the confusion of the war and the postwar period. We have been successful in this project and continue to negotiate the return of other stolen items of historical and cultural importance with individuals and institutions concerned. In the process of our Lost Cultural Assets program we have also united over 150 families on Okinawa and throughout Japan with personal family items such as albums, passports, deeds, official papers that were returned to us from US war veterans.
EDUCATION IS THE ANSWER
Our society is also dedicated to furthering education opportunities for Okinawa students. Presently we have various projects and programs ranging from short term summer English programs abroad to high school, community college and university level study abroad programs. (Refer to Education)
The society has a proven track record in completing numerous historical and cultural projects without financial assistance from the government. (Refer to Society Chronology)
Funding for past programs have been through private companies and private donations. Recently the society requested and received permission from the prefecture government to assist remote villages in need of revitalization and assistance. (Refer to Village Restoration Programs)
Many islands and villages in Okinawa Prefecture are in desperate need of revitalizing their decreasing population which has resulted in many vacant or abandoned houses. We will be requesting prefectural or national governmental funds in order to accomplish this monumental task.
Although problems are many, our society pledges that we will continue to strive to achieve the following goals we have set:
The problems facing Okinawa are numerous. Many of the problems stem from the postwar years of ignorance, neglect and total insensitivity to the needs of the people by our prefecture and national government.
||We will continue to educate the Okinawans and help them to be aware of their own history and heritage and thus build a solid foundation for their future.
||We will continue to promote universal understanding of Okinawa through educational and cultural exchanges as well as economic promotion programs.
||We will plan and implement educational and social programs with the purpose of invigorating Okinawa`s younger generation by exposing them to an international environment and teaching them the joys of working and assisting others.
||We will work to solve Okinawa`s unemployment problem as they are linked to our nationally high percentage of suicides, divorces, burglaries, juvenile delinquencies and school dropouts.
||We will focus on Volunteer Awareness Programs in order to alleviate the problems stemming from longevity and help the older generations to live a more rewarding life.
However, the problem with raising funds continues to hamper our programs as we work rapidly to help the youngsters of Okinawa to have better educational opportunities and recover Okinawa`s lost cultural assets. I like to take this opportunity to ask our members, friends abroad to make an investment in Okinawa`s future by donating to our society. Donors will be mentioned and recognized at our meetings and functions and through society newsletters and the webpage and will not be forgotten for their charitable donations.
Unfortunately Japan lags far behind in supporting nonprofits and your donations are NOT tax deductible. Needless to say that this is one underlining reason for the Nation`s deepening national crisis ranging from education to social welfare and decrease in population.
My final plea again is ask for help from our many friends around the world, to ask for their generous financial support for our ongoing campaign to better the lives of the younger and older generation of Okinawans. I welcome any advice or opinions you may have that can help us achieve the goals set by our society. Thank you and please be sure to contact us if there is anything we can do for you.
Shizuo (Alex) Kishaba
Ryukyu America Historical Research Society, NonProfit Incorporated
541 Arakaki, Nakagusuku, Okinawa, Japan 901-2422