VISIT OKINAWA JAPAN Official Okinawa Travel Guide

Story 7: Traditional Ryukyu Dress
Bonds and Unity
Hold onto what’s important and weave it into the future

I take you by the hand and lead you through a blooming garden. The red flower in your hair fits perfectly with your brightly colored kimono.

Long ago, only royalty were permitted to wear golden kimono. It’s as if a princess of the ancient Ryukyu Kingdom traveled through time to the present. When I whisper that to you, you smile and reply, “you could say the same about yourself.”

Dressed in the garb of the Ryukyu kings, I find myself walking a bit taller with every step. It’s as if their ancient way of life has entered me through their traditional clothing. Mysteriously, your expression is filled with a special air of nobility. A sense of readiness fills my being — I am prepared to protect you through life. This is the bond between man and woman continued through the ages.

We are visiting the Nakamura House in Kitanakagusuku. It was built back in the early 19th century by a wealthy farmer. Now we walk along the Ryukyu limestone wall that surrounds the property.

Beyond the wall, there is a lush grove of fukugi, wisely planted long ago to protect against typhoon winds. How did people live long ago in Okinawa — I don’t know, I can only imagine — but images spring to my mind’s eye. My heart races as I see you beaming with joy by the stone wall. There is something unchanging and vital that flows through the stillness of time.

There is something that transcends time and is passed down to us. We received it when we decided to walk together into the future. Your role, my role — tradition tells us the way to live together as a family. Don’t feel overwhelmed, just keep this in mind. Let’s promise to always care for each other, and live in harmony with the people around us. The Okinawans call this spirit of tolerance and compassion “chimugukuru.” With the steadfastness of this ancient wall, let us receive those values and pass them on to future generations.