Local Okinawans, U.S. military community celebrates Okinawa International Carnival
By Senior Airman Kristan Campbell, 18th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 30, 2018
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Members of the U.S. military and locals from the community gathered for the Okinawa International Carnival, Nov. 24th and 25th, 2018, in Okinawa City, Japan.
The annual festival hosted many events, such as the Gate 2 Motorcyle Fest, International Tug-of-War, live band performances and cultural displays.
“This carnival is not unlike others we have hosted before,” said Ryusei Kinjou, a local carnival participant. “Every year, the community comes together to celebrate our cultural differences and strengthen our friendships – the events are for everyone to enjoy.”
During the tug of war, a team of military members and their families, and a team of Japanese locals formed two teams and faced off in a lighthearted competition.
“The tug-of-war (here) is smaller than the one celebrated in Naha every year, but the principles are the same,” Kinjou said. “It’s a lot of fun for the families.”
As part of the events, the United States Band of the Pacific was invited by Okinawa International Carnival organizers to perform. They sang both popular Japanese and American songs and interacted with members of the local community, showcasing the U.S. military’s role of promoting peace within the Indo-pacific region.
“Music is a universal language that we are able to communicate and reinforce friendships for Japanese people through,” said Staff Sgt. Ainsley Dewitt, Pacific Air Forces Band singer.
Overall, the concert and the parade provided something new to both the community and service members, Kinjou said. It encouraged the different groups to step outside their personal boundaries while also promoting the Pacific Air Force Commander, General Charles Q. Brown’s, objectives of peace within the region.
“Our job here is to represent Airmen that are working for the relationship between Japan and the United States,” Dewitt said. “It’s always nice to support local events, to show the uniform and to really reinforce our friendships with Japan and Okinawa specifically.”