【En】Ryukyu Kings player Koh Flippin: “I am proud to be Uchinanchu” What he wants to tell to children through basketball in his mother’s homeland, Okinawa

この記事を書いた人 Avatar photo 仲井間 郁江
Ryukyu Golden Kings player Koh Flippin with a message about his roots, saying, “Being Uchinanchu makes me proud.” (courtesy of his family)

Haisai, Yutashiku-Unigesabira" ("Hello" in Japanese). Koh Flippin, who plays for the Ryukyu Golden Kings of the Basketball B-League, begins his post-game interview with a greeting in Uchinaaguchi. Koh's mother is from Okinawa. Koh himself is proud to be Uchinanchu and happy to be playing in Okinawa.

From October 31, The 7th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival, a gathering of people with Okinawan roots from around the world, is being held in Okinawa.

To commemorate the festival, Koh sent a message to The Ryukyu Shimpo through his family. In the message, Koh said, "I am proud to be Uchinanchu. The knowledge and opportunities I have now are thanks to my ancestors who worked hard and paved the way for me."

Many times "back home" and memories of Shurijo Castle.

Born and raised in the United States, Koh has visited Okinawa, his "second home," many times since he was a child. He grew up hearing stories from his mother about Okinawa's history, the Battle of Okinawa, and the U.S. military base issue. After arriving in Okinawa, his grandfather took him to Shuri Castle many times.

As a boy in the U.S., he spent most of his time playing basketball. He later played in Japan, helping the Chiba Jets win the league championship, and joined the Kings for the 2021-22 season. In games, he continues to dazzle spectators with his athleticism, including dunks. Next year, the World Cup basketball tournament will be held in Okinawa. He has been selected as a member of the Asian Regional Training Camp and is expected to be selected for the Japanese national team.

Koh as a child visiting Shuri Castle with his grandfather and older brother, 2006 (courtesy of his family).

Win one win at a time with the people of Okinawa.

He have known since he was a child that there is a team called the Kings in Okinawa. He decided to join the Kings as a professional player because he wanted to share the joy of winning one game and one championship with the people of Okinawa, his roots.

Koh Hilpin of the Kings makes a dunk in the fourth quarter of the game between Ryukyu vs Niigata at the Okinawa Arena in Okinawa City on October 16, 2022 (Photo: Moriaki Kitase).

The post-game interview begins with the greeting, "Haisai-Yutashiku-Unigesabira. " This is a phrase he learned from his mother. His favorite saying is "Makutu-Soke-Nankulunaisa" ("If you work hard and do not falter in good faith, even if you are suffering, you will eventually get by"). When interacting with children, he encourages them by telling them about his pride as a Uchinanchu and the importance of continuing to work steadily.

He is affectionately known as "Koh-chan" and "Koh-kun" by his fans. On his Instagram, he concluded his thoughts after the end of last season with "Nife -Debiru ("thank you"in Japanese).

On the occasion of the 7th Worldwide  Uchinanchu Festival, Koh renewed his determination, saying, "I think it is our responsibility to pass on our knowledge and experience so that the next generation can have new adventures in the world.


Koh's full message

 “It is one of my greatest prides to be Uchinanchu and represent Okinawa everywhere I go. My Uchinanchu ancestors worked so hard to give me the knowledge opportunities that I have had in my life. When I was a kid I did not realize the impact they had on me, but now it is so clear how much they have helped build me into the person I am today. It is now our job to share our experiences with the next generation so that they can venture into new avenues around the world.”


▼<English>History of Uchinanchu in the World:420,000 descendants, Pride and Love for their homeland.

▼<Espanol>La historia de Uchinanchu en el mundo: 420,000 descendientes con orgullo y amor.

▼Enjoy the Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival!/ ¡Disfruta del Festival Mundial de Uchinanchu!

▼Worldwide Uchinanchu News/Noticias de Uchinanchu en el mundo