Rock Star Keeping the Okinawan Language Alive

A wannabe Japanese rock star is working to prevent the Okinawan language from becoming extinct.

Byron Fija, whose mother was Okinawan and father American, had orgininally denied his Japanese heritage and left Japan for America, in an attempt to become a rock star. But when that did not work out, he returned to Okinawa where one evening he went to an old-style inn where he heard  folk songs in the Okinawan language. It was like an epiphany and from then on he embraced being Okinawan.

Now Byron Fija is well-known in Okinawa. He hosts a radio show entirely in the local language where residents phone in to request songs and to chat. He also plays the sanshin, a lute-like instrument, and writes songs in the Okiawan language.

Read more about the Okinawan language>>

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