Tinsagu nu Hana yaChimisachi ni sumitiUyanu yuushi gutu yaChimu ni sumiri
Tin nuburi bushi yaYumiba yumarishigaUya nu yushi gutu yaYumi ya naran
Yuru harasu funi yaNinufaa bushi miatiWan nacheeru uya yaWan du miati
Dye the tips of your fingernailsWith the petals of the tinsagu blossomDye the teachings of your parentsOnto your heart
If you tried, you couldCount the stars in the skyBut you cannot countWhat your parents teach you
A ship sailing at nightGets its bearings from the North StarMy parents who gave me lifeGet their bearings from me
Wesley Iwao Ueunten is an Okinawan Sansei who was born on Kaua'i. He received his doctorate in comparative ethnic studies from the University of California at Berkeley and is assistant professor of Asian studies at San Francisco State University. He has published articles on Okinawan identity and is the co-founder of Genyukai Berkeley, a group that learns, practices, and performs traditional and contemporary Okinawan music.