Understanding environment through culture, UEHIRO×WASEDA Seminar series

Final Report Palmira Araujo Dos Santos

Palmira Araujo Dos Santos.





The island is blessed with the cobalt blue sea, colorful coral, tropical plants, and flowers. As many island’s special animals and plants, the island is called as “Oriental Galapagos Island”.  Amami Oshima has a rich ecosystem on land, its underwater ecosystem is equally diverse. The Kuroshio Current brings warm tropical water from the south, sustaining the world’s northernmost coral reefs. If the weather is not conducive for diving and snorkeling, underwater viewing boats can be used by those who still want to observe marine life. Coral reefs, shoals of fishes, starfishes, crabs, and tiny shrimps in the crooks between the concrete slabs of walls right at the pier – the boat trip gives a taster experience of the charms of the clear blue sea.





A Unique of Culture


Of course, Amami Oshima is not just about its nature. Originally belonging to the Ryukyu Kingdom (present-day Okinawa) before it was ceded to the Satsuma Domain (present-day Kagoshima) in the early 17th century, its culture reflects a mix of mainland Japan and the Ryukyu Kingdom. The island is famous for its traditional textile “Oshima Tsumugi Silk”. The textile is mainly used for kimono materials, ties, handbags.



After visited Amami Oshima Tsumugi Textile Production I noticed that people in Amami Oshima are very creative, protective and really taking care of the environment that surrounded them also their culture and tradition as well.

Oshima Tsumugi silk is light, wrinkle-free, and extremely durable. A premium, quality-certified fabric produced only in this region, authentic Oshima Tsumugi silk boasts a long history spanning thirteen hundred years and still employs the traditional, laborious production process. The silk threads are meticulously measured and segments blocked out, then hand-dyed in the liquid extract of Japanese hawthorn up to 80 times and in mud up to 5 times for a deep coloration. The weavers, mostly elderly ladies now, must carefully align the warp and weft threads for the resulting tiny crosses that make the overall pattern and each fabric can take up to six months to complete.





What I love the most about Amami is the spirit and warmth of the locals. The pace on the island is like no place I have visited before. In Amami, time passes slowly, life is simpler and people seem to be in tune with nature. The locals are very knowledgeable about the weather, tides, plants, and wildlife of the island. They are also connected to the community, and always go out of their way for a friend, and for a visitor to the island.




I had an incredible time in Amami Oshima. Amami nature is breathtaking with the Mangroves, Pandanus trees, and Cycads. What made the journey so memorable was to hear live Shima-Uta songs with the Sanshin since it has such a long tradition. The songs still resound in my heart.


To be honest I would like to thank you for this wonderful trip. So far I have learned very good things from Amami Oshima and I hope in the future I can practice in my daily life and also implement it in my country as well.


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