We are very happy to announce the summer 2011 issue of MANOA: Living Spirit: Literature & Resurgence in Okinawa. A companion volume to Voices from Okinawa (published in 2009), Living Spirit is a collection of compelling prose and poetry representative of the Okinawan renaissance that began in the 1960s. Katsunori Yamazato, who worked with us on Voices, again serves as guest editor.
The authors include Kathy Foley, Kawamitsu Shinichi, Makiminato Tokuzo, Matayoshi Eiki, Medoruma Shun, Nagado Eikichi, Nakawaka Naoko, Nobuko Miyama Ochner, Oshiro Sadatoshi, Oshiro Tatsuhiro, Sakiyama Tami, Takara Ben, Tamagusuku Chokun, Unna Nabii, Yamanoguchi Baku, Yonaha Mikio, and Yushiya Chiruu. Photographs by Higa Yasuo from his book Maternal Deities comprise the art. The images are of sacred religious rites conducted in the islands by women.
The contemporary fiction includes three recipients of Japan’s prestigious Akutagawa Prize—Oshiro, Medoruma, and Matayoshi—in addition to Nagado, Nakawaka, and Sakiyama, who has been nominated twice for the prize.
Other works include contemporary and traditional poetry, drama, songs, and essays. The modern poets are Yamanoguchi, Kawamitsu, Yonaha, Makiminato, and Takara. Playwrights are Oshiro and Tamagusuku. Traditional pieces include ryuka by Yushiya and Unna, folk songs, and shaman songs. The essays are by Oshiro Sadatoshi, Foley, and Ochner.
One major thing that makes Living Spirit different from Voices is that we worked with translators in Okinawa and the United States: David Fahy (Univ. of California at Davis), Hitoshi Hamagawa (Okinawa Christian University), Kyle Ikeda (Univ. of Vermont), Ochner (Univ. of Hawai‘i), Madoka Nagado (Univ. of Hawai‘i), Tomoko Shinjo, Takuma Sminkey (Okinawa International University), Buntaro Taira, Wesley Iwao Ueunten (San Francisco State University), and Yamazato (Univ. of the Ryukyus).
Our thanks to everyone for helping to make this beautiful book possible.
Children, I’m singing you the story of Miyako
the beautiful, the blue, the deepening indigo,
and the red soil made from crushed bodies
that lay down their genealogy of bones
—Their spirits are whispering to you: all of this is what is.
from “The Ocean of the Dead” by Yonaha Mikio
Generous support for Living Spirit was provided by the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities, Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, Manoa Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, University of Hawai‘i Center for Okinawan Studies, and The Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry. Special thanks to Dexter and Valerie Teruya for their support.