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Prefectural Designations – Okinawa

By David Miyashiro

Identity is a very important part of being “Okinawan”. From your family name to the origins of your family’s location, these keys help to “identify” and connect you and your relationships with other Uchinanchu. Here is a simplified listing of area or club identities and what they mean.

Please note that these area designations are in Japanese and these geographical terms are not unique to Okinawa. However, despite the small size of the island, these source names are still very important to the people’s identities.

県人会 Kenjinkai – a prefectural level organization. E.g. – Chicago Kenjinkai

Hawaii is the exception in having many member clubs under their umbrella. e.g. – HUOA (Hawaii United Okinawa Association)

  • 1. 市人会 Shijinkai – City e.g. – Gushikawa Shijinkai
  • 2. 町人会 Choojinkai – Town e.g. – Kadena Choojinkai Motobu Choojinkai
  • 3. 村人会 Sonjinkai – Village Club e.g. – Nakagusuku Sonjinkai

Miscellaneous Geographical identities

字AzaAza" is a prefix that indicates an area of a specific older part of a geographical location. While Aza will usually be politically under a city or township in Japan, in the case of the clubs, they are considered to be completely separate entities (e.g. Aza Gushikawa Doshi Kai and Gushikawa Shijinkai).
e.g. – Aza Gushikawa – hamlet of Gushikawa

同士Dooshi – not an actual geographic location. “Dooshi” literally means a “shared identity” or “commonality.”

For example: if you were to start a club from the graduating class of 1958, you may be called “Class of ’58 Dooshi Kai” because you all share the identity of being part of that graduating class. Therefore a literal translation of Miwa Dooshi Kai is the “club of people who share the identity of being from Miwa”.
e.g. – Miwa Doshi Kai

共有会Kyouyuukai – “Kyouyuu” literally means “shared ownership.”
e.g. – Wahiawa Kyouyuukai