Editor’s Note: FOCUS is a multimedia series that highlights the diversity and depth of our community through interviews and photographs.

Okinawan culture has captivated Alfred Kina since he was a child.

Growing up in Honolulu, his parents helped him explore the richness of their traditions. He went on to become an expert weaver and folklorist, and recently found theater to be yet another outlet.

Kina revels in the diversity of talents in Hawaii, which assure him that the next generation will carry on Okinawan culture.

“If I were to attempt laser-like conciseness to define what Okinawan culture means to me, it’d be ‘generosity,’ ‘restraint,’ ‘warmth’ and ‘excellence,'” he said.

Kina, who earned a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Hawaii and a doctorate from Indiana University Bloomington, is a consultant on Okinawan textiles and culture. He has been invited to the Smithsonian Institute’s folklife events three times.

His recent work has involved advising on the production of “A Cage of Fireflies,” a play by Daniel Akiyama, which premiered at Kumu Kahua Theatre. He loaned the stage production a bolt of cloth he wove in the traditional kasuri style.

The play’s director, Phyllis Look, said Kina is also a performer in his own right: a certified Okinawan dance instructor and a student of the Okinawan koto.

“If I were to use a succint word to describe my current goal in life, it’d be ‘synergy,'” Kina told Civil Beat. “I think it is in concert with aspiring to weave as ‘translucent’ as possible. Meaning to be able to see through things, to perceive the ‘bigger’ picture, to see how everything in this awesome universe is really one.”

Listen to his story:

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