Category Archives: Kitadaito

Getto – It’s many Uses

Last week I caught this post over at Ryukyu Mike’s blog and was reminded of my time on Kitadaito Island.  Kitadaito’s biggest industry is sugar production, but during my time there (2008-2011) they created a factory to harness the many uses of the getto plant, aka Alpinia zerumbet.   So what is a getto?  It’s a tall stalk based plant with broad, tapering leaves and white cone-shaped flowers.  The stalks grow slowly but prodigiously, and regrow after being cut down.  They

2012 Kitadaito Festival Day 2

The 2012 Kitadaito Festival was a two-day event in September marking an important time of community inclusion and tradition. The second day of the Festival was on the 23rd and, as in years past, featured sumo competitions as a traditional Japanese offering to the kami and ancestors of the village. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my post on day one. Below is a video showing excerpts from the day, with more information and photos farther down.

2012 Kitadaito Festival Day 1

Every year on September 22 and 23 Kitadaito Village celebrates its largest Festival.  These dates mark the beginning of autumn.  Kitadaito also known as north Borodino island is a place of 12sq kilometers 320 kilometers east of the Okinawan mainland.  It is unique in that it was settled by residents of Hachijo Island (near Tokyo) but is part of Okinawa Prefecture.  Over the past 100 years the island has become a unique chanpuru (mix) of both cultures. After graduating from

Kitadaito Island’s Phosphorous Mine Ruins

Three hundred and twenty kilometers from the Okinawa mainland, two small islands sit alone in the South Pacific.  The Daito Islands, one time the Borodinos, have a short history, having been settled only 100 years ago.  Still they made it in time for both world wars.  Kitadaito is the smaller of the two islands, and boasts one of the most unique blendings of culture in Japan.  During the war, Kitadaito was settled mainly to harvest phosphorous.  It never became a

Okinawan Sumo

Okinawan Sumo, also known as kakuyukai, is a form of the famous Japanese martial art practiced in the southern islands. A cross between Edo Sumo wrestling and judo, the goal of Okinawan Sumo is to toss your opponent on their back.  Unlike Edo Sumo wrestlers, Okinawan Sumo-ka generally wear a heavy gi (a martial arts outfit) tied with a simple white or red cloth belt. How to Sumo, Okinawan Style Okinawan Sumo takes place on a sandy patch of ground.

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