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Regional News

Enka music, adobo and titiyas in Micronesia

MANY Micronesian households have been influenced by Japanese culture in many ways. Even after World War II, Japanese songs and food were still popular in the islands.

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From left, Doris Esteban, Veisinia Peteru, the writer and Emy Igisaiar.  Contributed photo

In Palau, Enka, which is a Japanese ballad, has influenced  many composers, singers and other musicians.

The song “Osaka Shigure” composed by Ichikawa Shosuke was originally performed by Enka artist Toshimi Tagawa. This song is still familiar to older Palauans.  In the early 1980s it was regularly played on the local Palauan radio station. In Japan, it became a big hit for modern Enka singer Harumi Miyako.

This writer’s late grandfather Sakaziro (Sakajhiro) Demk was a Ngardmau resident who liked to watch Samurai movies and listen to Enka songs. Back in the day, villagers also enjoyed Japanese-style Udon noodle soup.

Saipan local residents interviewed by this writer said their favorite dishes now include pancit and adobo from the Philippines and kimchi from Korea.

For their part, Filipinos who have been residing on island for many years now, have embraced titiyas, chicken kelaguen, empanada and other Chamorro dishes.

“We should appreciate the variety of cultures on Saipan today,” a local resident said. “We should embrace our differences, learn from each other, while helping and supporting one another.”