Kazufumi Miyazawa Lecture – “The Future of Okinawa – Kuruchi, Uta and Sanshin”
93rd University of the Ryukyus 21st Century Forum

Kazufumi Miyazawa Lecture – “The Future of Okinawa – Kuruchi, Uta and Sanshin”

93rd University of the Ryukyus 21st Century Forum

The University welcomed musician Kazufumi Miyazawa, formerly of the band THE BOOM, which is best known for their hit song “Shima-uta”, to deliver a lecture on June 29th for the 93rd University of the Ryukyus 21st Century Forum. Miyazawa gave a lecture titled “The Future of Okinawa – Kuruchi, Uta and Sanshin” in auditorium room 215 of the Faculty of Law and Letters.

In addition to his band activities, Mr. Miyazawa performs as a solo singer, while producing music for other artistes. His career also spans other areas such as writing and acting. In recent years, Mr. Miyazawa has been channeling his efforts into his adopted home of Okinawa, involving himself with the recording and documentation of traditional Okinawa folk music, as well as kickstarting the “100-Year Kuruchi Forest Project” with Mr. Daiichi Hirata to ensure sustainable supply of kuroki (Ryukyu kokutan), an essential material to produce sanshin.

In the first part of his lecture, Mr. Miyazawa, who is born in Yamanashi prefecture, spoke about his upbringing, to his encounter with Okinawa music and also his deep ties with Okinawa. He then presented a heartfelt sanshin-accompanied version of his self-penned hit song “Shima-uta” to the audience, who were visibly moved by Mr. Miyazawa’s performance. This was followed by an explanation of the motives and background leading to his “kuruchi” planting initiative in Yomitan village, where photographs were used to explain actual project activities.

The second part of the lecture was a dialogue session held together with Mr. Daiichi Hirata, sanshin craftsman Mr. Miki Nagamine, and Professor Shingo Taniguchi of the Faculty of Agriculture. Through their discussion on kuruchi, thought to be the best material for making quality sanshin, the panelists called upon future generations of Okinawans to watch over the growth of these trees, as its cultivation is a gradual process that takes hundreds of years.

A presentation by students of Nanbu Agricultural High School on the topic “Exploring the Viability of Kuruchi Fruit” rounded up the day’s lecture, ending the session on a positive note.

The forum, attended by 145 people, which included members of the public, students and university staff, was covered by two local television stations.

Mr. Miyazawa speaking to the audience

A captivated audience

Heartfelt performance of “Shima-uta”

Dialogue session with the other panelists

Students from Nanbu Agricultural High School

(From left) Mr. Miki Nakamine, Mr. Daiichi Hirata, Mr. Kazufumi Miyazawa, President Oshiro and Executive Vice President Mr. Kazuhiro Sugahara