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"The First Okinawans Home"

"Yabuchi Or Hamahiga"

There is a Legend that tells about the place where the first Okinawans lived. The legend tells the first Okinawan was a goddess who lived in a cave on an Island named Yabuchi with her pet dog . Yabuchi Island is located just off the western side of Yonashiro going toward White Beach, “ a naval port for Japanese and American Navy”.

It is noted that some of the oldest stoneware pottery remains found in Okinawa have been discovered with in the cave that is believed to be a place where the goddess and her dog live. The artifacts found date back 10,000 years; that would put it back in the early Jomon period.

(Jomon Period insight) Around 10,000 B.C., these original inhabitants developed a unique culture, which lasted for several thousand years: the Jomon culture. As with all preliterate people, all we know of them comes from fragments of artifacts and the imaginative guessing of anthropologists and archaeologists. Jomon means, "cord pattern," these people designed cord patterns on their pottery the oldest of its kind in human history. Pottery, however, is a characteristic of Neolithic peoples; the Jomon, however, were Mesolithic peoples (Middle Stone Age). All the evidence shows that they were hunting, gathering, and fishing society that lived in very small tribal groups. But in addition to making pottery, they also fashioned mysterious figurines that appear to be female. (It is thought to be an Ancient goddess worship?) (End)

Most of the remains found from that period were located along the shore of Yabuchi, which indicates; they had a fishing lifestyle for the ones that lived on the small Island. On the Main land of Okinawa the oldest pottery found Only dates back as far as 6,800 years and is known as the Agaribaru type stoneware.

Even though people go to Yabuchi Island every day to plant and harvest the fields they cultivate; Yabuchi Island has no permanent residents living on it to this day. It is said, every house that was built burned down before they were completed. The legend belief is; the ancient spirits did not want any earthly humans living on the island where the goddess lived.

There is one single concrete bridge that links the small Island to the main Island and a dirt road that goes all the way across Yabuchi Island to the cave where the goddess and her dog once lived.

Just west of Yabuchi Island about 900 meters there is another little Island named Hamahiga; at low tide a person can walk from Hamahiga Island to Yabuchi Island. As of February 7, 1997 a bridge was completed to Hamahiga Island from one of the other small Islands close by. Prier to the bridge being completed, the only way to get to this Island was to wait until low tide and walk or ride in a four wheel vehicle or take a boat at high tied.

History teaches the people on Okinawa, Hamahiga Island is the place where the first Okinawan people lived. On that Island you will find a special tomb that is said to be the place the first people were buried. The village on Hamahiga and the government of Okinawa sealed up a cave where very old human remains where located just off the main Island of Hamahiga about 100 meters. There is a small monumental Shrine in that spot where the first Okinawans was buried. At the base of the steps going up to the shrine there is a small marble plat mounted to a stone post stating that this spot was the first spot were people lived in Okinawa; also it is written, these people came from the sky. From that last statement; I would say it came from part of the legend of Yabuchi Island Goddess which was passed down through generations.

Some of the same artifacts stoneware have also been found on Hamahiga Island as in Yabuchi Island. Hamahiga has two fishing village on it plus it uses some of its land to plant crops. Hamahiga Island has many very old cave tombs sealed on this Island.

Although Yabuchi is the bigger of the two Islands , Hamahiga has humans living on this Island. Both Islands is Habu haven, (the only poison snake on all the Islands of Okinawa). It is thought that the goddess lived on Yabuchi Island and her people lived on Hamahiga. If we go back 10,000 years it is very possible both Islands were connected or at least a lot closer than they are at this present day. Taking that in to effect this would make both the legend of Yabuchi Island and the history that is taught to the Okinawans come together.

Both sights are considered a holy place. At the beginning of each year, people come from the surrounding Islands to the tomb site on Hamahiga and the cave site on Yabuchi too pray for good health and harvest for the year.


Posted 06/12/06