2007/05/05

Hokule'a Now In Uto, Japan

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Photo courtesy おみちん的生活のすすめ blog

Yesterday, the Polynesian Voyaging Society canoe Hokule'a reached Uto Marina, in Kuamoto Prefecture, Japan, where the crew was greeted by Japanese Hula dancers.
Kumamoto, on Kyushu island, is the prefecture from which the 3rd largest group of Japanese immigrants to Hawai'i came in the late 19th and early 20th century.

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Hokule'a is visiting the parts of Japan where most of Hawaii's Japanese immigrants originated. After a 3-4 day stay at Uto, Hokule'a and her accompanying sailboat Kama Hele will continue on to Nagasaki and Fukuoka.

For further details about this part of the voyage click here: HOKULEA'S VOYAGE TO JAPAN and here: CREW WEBLOG.

6 comments:

ladybug said...

Now that would have been interesting to see - Japanese doing a traditional Hula...

I didn't realize they were going to visit the Japanese Mainland, perhaps they will be popping over to Alaska this summer?

Pandabonium said...

Ladybug - I was surprised (and delighted) to see hula performed on a couple of occasions right here in Kashima.

Hula has been popular in Japan for a long time and has grown in the last ten or fifteen years to the point where there may be as many as 400,000 people involved with Hula in Japan. Their halau (schools) have even won competitions in Hawaii and there is a Japanese magazine devoted to the subject: Hula Le'a.

Alaska? Not this year. ;^)

After Yokohama, Hokule'a will be headed home, completing this year's voyages.

She did, however, visit the Pacific Northwest in 1995 with another canoe, the Hawaii'lo'a. The canoes were shipped by container to Seattle and visited reservations in Washington and the Vancouver, BC. Then Hawaii'lo'a sailed up the coast to Juneau while Holue'a went south to Portland, San Fransisco, Santa Barbara, Long Beach, and San Diego. Each had cultural exchanges with native American groups all along the way.

I wonder what is next?

ladybug said...

That is great, as there are several myths/cultural histories which suggest that the migration of the ancestors of Native Americans either 10,000 or 30,000 years ago (there are competing theories) might have been by canoe (rather than overland over the Bering Strait) - mostly they are oral stories about how to travel the "Klin Otto" (Pacific Coastal current) up and down the coast. They vaguely talk about some far away lands across many weeks of travel and how to get back.

Pandabonium said...

Ladybug - That's interesting. I always found it odd that modern people don't give credit to ancient ones - some going so far as to posit that "space aliens" built many famous structures, rather than accept that earlier human cultures were quite capable of doing such things. Sort of techno-culture provincialism.

Here is another interesting connection between the American Northwest and Hawaii:

Vancouver visited Hawaii in the 1790s and described a 61-foot-long canoe made of non-native West Coast pine. The canoe had been crafted from a giant log that had fallen into the Pacific and drifted west to Hawaii.

According to the Polynesian Voyaging Society, several sources have reported that Hawaiians used drift logs from Oregon to build their biggest canoes. The ancient Hawaiians considered the drift logs gifts from their gods.

And so, the Hawai'i Lo'a (named after the leader who in legend first settled Hawai'i) was built from Sitka spruce, cut down by a consortium of tribes in Alaska, and shipped to Hawaii.

Kato Kosei said...

Hokule'a, Makali'i and Na Mahoe(newest voyaging canoe built in Kauai) will go Aotearoa in 2009, to the posting of PVS weblog.

Pandabonium said...

Kato Kosei - thank you very much for that information!