In Okinawa, Public Hall means not only the building but also the community organization which has a power to practically govern the community, There's only one in Taketomi Island, but there are dozens of Public Hall in a big islands like Iriomote Island and Ishigaki Island. In that case, it is also written "shima."
Taketomi Island is the island formed by the growth of the coral reef, and is 9.2 km around in circumference. Though it has been a number of troubles and pressure occurred from outside the island, Tehdhunhito(inhabitants of Taketomi Island) has managed to help each other in the circle of the Public Hall and to discuss the issues that were all worth doing. Many people wonder how it is possible to manage peacefully in such a small island. It has been possible because of the motivation of the inhabitants and the great ability of the leaders. It was necessary to realize what was the most important matters to focus on in each time in a place where it was impossible to escape.
Its principle comes from the saying of Nishitoh, the great man lived in the island 500 years ago, "Wisdom and
Collaboration are Essential." This means that it is essential and thoughtful for everyone to collaborate each other.
The word "utsugumi" meaning "to collaborate" is the fundamental idea of Taketomi Island. However, it doesn't
mean to have too soft relationships because of a small population.
There are three communities in the island and their competition is quite outstanding. Their determination to compete(not conflict) with other communities is incredibly remarkable. They use their "zunbun," the knowledge,
to develop themselves. Though there are such competitions, they have collaborated under the "utsugumi" mind once something has decided and come to an agreement among them.
The good example is the election of the director of Public Hall. The director sometimes has to protect the future of the island by fighting against the town, prefecture, or even nation. The director is indeed a CEO of the island. His term is one year, with no chance of reelected, but it requires a heavy responsibility to select the very person in three communities in each term. There is no way to select a shameful person so that elders and people in the island collaborate to educate the future candidate of the director in the next generation.
There's a Public Hall rules for its management. 12 Public Hall officers are chosen from the communities, and director and executives execute the management. The major work of executives is to execute the festival and events held about 20 times a year. On March 31st every year, the general meeting is held with every officer attended.
The communities in Taketomi Island is designated as a National Important Architects of Preservation Area. This also is the result of the countless effort of Tehdhunhito(inhabitants of Taketomi Island). The main reason of the designation is not only its scenery, but also the existence of "Taketomi Island Carter" of five principles: such as, "Never sell, never pollute, never confuse, never destroy, and make a good use." Every word has a history. Today, one-third of the population is not native islanders. Thanks to the Public Hall with every single person on the island participated, the red-tile-roof houses and stone walls, which are said to be the original scenery of Okinawa, have been beautifully preserved. Cleaning the white star-sand paths every morning has been a habitual routine for more than 200 years.
Bad habits are to be abolished and good habits are to be inherited to the next generations. That is our wish to live with the island.
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