Search for content in message boards

Shiroma in Okinawa to Hawaii

Shiroma in Okinawa to Hawaii

Glenn Shiroma (View posts)
Posted: 921672000000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Shiroma, Miyagi, Miyashiro, Chinen
Looking for relative in Okinawa with last names Shiroma, Miyagi, Miyashiro, and Chinen. My grandparents came to Hawaii in early 1900's to work in sugar plantations.

Shiroma Surname

Brian Bolvin (View posts)
Posted: 921758400000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Shiroma
my mother's maiden name is Shiroma and she is from Okinawa. I live in Pennsylvania, U.S. My grandfather's name was Keiichi Shiroma. His father's name was Sanryo Shiroma (b: 1874). Sanryo's father's name was Kame Shiroma. All were born and lived in Okinawa. We might be cousins. Let me know about your known relatives.

Shiroma Grandparents

D. Shiroma (View posts)
Posted: 928756800000
Classification: Query
Surnames: SHIROMA
My grandparents also came to Hawaii from Okinawa and worked in the sugar plantation. They work and lived in Chin Chuck, Hakalau. My grandfather was from Yogi, Okinawa. His name was Seimatsu Shiroma, could this be a relative?


Damon Senaha (View posts)
Posted: 936705600000
Classification: Query
To all Shiromas,

Understand that the name "Shiroma" has other pronounciations. Other ways of pronouncing "Shiroma" are "Gusukuma" and "Gushikuma".

Once way for you to determine if you all are cousins is to find out if you all share the same "yago" or house name.

In England, house names are used. An example is Duke of York and Duke of Edingburgh. In Okinawa, before the Japanese government required that Okinawans adopt last names, all of our families were referred to by house names.

My family, "Senaha" is from Okinawa-ken, (prefecture) Nakagami-gun (county) Nakagusuku-son (village) Aza-Tsuha ("Buraku" or "Block). In Tsuha, we are known as the house name "Mae-Shimojo", not Senaha. There are too many Senaha's in the village for us to know who's who.

Once again, if you can find your house name, you will know if you are cousins.

How to find your house name? Ask any issei or nisei in your family. They might know. Most of the issei in Hawaii's plantations could not read or write. To communicate, they relied on the letter-writer at the plantation store who wrote (for a small fee) for them when they sent letters to Japan. The letter writer always wrote in the third-person (Senaha, Kako-sama wants to send his greeting to all and to tell everyone that all is well on Ewa Plantation, although, he regrets to inform you that his youngest son, Tomozen was killed in action in the Korean War.) The envelope that the letter was sent displayed not only the address but also the yago.

My grandfather's letters to his brother in law had the address printed in English on the face but, "yago Itoman-gwa" was written in Kanji. This told everyone in the village (who could not read English anyway) that the letter is intended for Arakaki, Chogi-sama. The yago system acted as the main system of identification.

Today the Yago system is still in use. My grandmother's family runs a sashimi store in the village and while visiting, I noticed that their customer list (on the wall) was listed by yago, not surnames.

If you read the obituaries in Hawaii you will occasionally find a yago listed in the obiturary of an Okinawan person who died. An example would be "Nakandakari, Kamado AKA Yago nudunchi".

I hope this helps!

Damon Senaha

Shiroma family

Amy Ambrosch (View posts)
Posted: 968500800000
Classification: Query
See request message for Shiroma. I have inquiries also.
Sent them before I read this message.
I also have a Chinen in lineage, great grandmother, Gozu
(Gusukuma) Chinen married to Kama (Gusukum)Gushikuma. One
of the children is Ushi, my grandfather, born 09 Jan 1981.
Don't know names of brothers or sisters.
Also are you by any chance in the Philadelphia area?

Shiroma name

Amy Ambrosch (View posts)
Posted: 968846400000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Shiroma, Gushikuma, Gusukuma, Tamagusuku
As Damon stated. Look also for typographical errors in
Hawaii records. While researching, my grandfather Gushikuma, it showed the Okinawan name of Gusukuma and
grandmothers name Tamagusuku changed to Tamashiro when they
came to Hawaii. My mothers birth certificate had her as Hatsuko Gushikuma instead of Shiroma. They could not find the records so she ended up with a delayed birth certificate. I have both, the original as Gushikuma and the delayed as Hatsuko Shiroma Gushikuma (She had gotten married in the mean time.)

Hope this helps.
Happy hunting.


Amy Ambrosch (View posts)
Posted: 968932800000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Shiroma, Senaha
I have an aunt by marriage of Senaha. Her married name is now Gushikuma. She lives on Kauai. This is on my fathers side of the family.

Other name changes that occured.

Damon Senaha (View posts)
Posted: 968932800000
Classification: Query

Name changed are a reflection of the naichi Japanese pronouncing the Kanji in a naichi way. Today, most family names in Okinawa reflect the naichi pronouncination while the place names retain its Okinawan pronounciation. For example The village of Kanegusuku retains its name but a family name with the same Kanji is called "Kinjo".

Other name changes:

Dakujaku is also called Dakuzaku

Kiyan, formerly Kyan or Kiyam, went to Kiyabu, now, Kiyatake.

Jitchaku is now Serikaku.

Tsukazan is now Tsukayama. The town is still Tsukazan.

Shinzato or Shinsato is also Arasato, Anything "Ara" (Arakaki, Arakawa) may also be "Shin". (Shingaki, Shinkawa)
Shin or Ara means "new".

Shiro (castle) in addition to "gusuku" can also be "gi" or ki" or jo". Example, Miyagusuku is also Miyashiro is also Miyagi. Kaneshiro was once Kanegusuku, is now Kinjo in Okinawa. (There are no Kaneshiro in Okinawa today, only Kinjo).

Momohara used to be Tobaru.

By the way, Tamashiro nowdays in Okinawa is more commonly promounced Tamaki.

My name, Senaha, was once "Sinafa" (Samoan-sounding huh?) Under the Ryukyu Kingdom. the Satsuma invaders from Kagoshima Japanized it to Senaha. Nowdays, the Kanji for my name is read Senaha throughout Japan.

Once more name, "Higa" was once "Fija".

Damon Senaha


Damon Senaha (View posts)
Posted: 969019200000
Classification: Query
Probably a distant relative. My grandfather arrived on March 3, 1907 aboard the Chusa-maru from Kobe. The the plantation he was assigned to was McBryde Plantation on Kauai. (This information can be found at the Bishop Museum as well as the Hawaii state archives).

On Kauai, after his picture bride, Ushiya Goya arrived, Hiroko (1924) and Kuwasae (1925) was born. The family left for the Ewa Plantation on O'ahu that same year and Hajime (1926) Shizue, Minoru, Stanley Shigeru and Henry Tomozen were born (year of birth unclear to me).

I once met a woman named Amy Shikata, who is from Kauai and she said her mother's maden name was Senaha and that we are distant relatives. How we were related, I don't know.

Damon Senaha

Ushi Gushikuma

amy ambrosch (View posts)
Posted: 971006400000
Classification: Query
Ushi was born on 09 Jan 1891 not 1981.
The Gushikuma and Shiroma are written the same way in
Kanji form. So whomever translates it in english wrote it
as Gushikuma or Shiroma. But in Okinawa they were also
aka Gusukuma. Need to look at all ways. In the 1910 census
from Hawaii, there were a lot of transposed spelling when
they typed the index. The LDS FHC in Hawaii has a typed written alphabetical index listing of the census.
per page

Find a board about a specific topic