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Deigo (Indian Coral Tree), Okinawa’s Prefectural Flower
post : 2019.08.24 05:00
With another typhoon gone, Okinawa is seeing sunny breaks in the weather! Speaking of typhoons, there’s a type of flower in Okinawa that’s related to the typhoon. That’s the Deigo flower, or known in English as Indian Coral or Indian Coral Bean. The bright red Deigo flowers are also the official prefectural flower of Okinawa.
So, what’s the association with the Deigo flowers and typhoons, you ask?
Deigo flowers begin to bloom during the early summer season, locally known as Urizun in Okinawa. Since long ago, it has been said, “The more spectacular the Deigo flowers bloom during this time of the year, the more typhoons we will see during the year’s typhoon season.”
For years, people have been looking to the Deigo to tell whether the year would see many typhoons or not.
Whether it’s superstition or experience over a long period of time, the Deigo flowers have delivered this typhoon forecast to the people for many, many years. (Reliable or not, we can see that both Deigo flowers and typhoons have been closely tied to the people of the islands for a long time!)
There’s a famous Japanese song that sings about the Deigo flowers. The song is titled Shima Uta and was made famous the world over by a Japanese band, The Boom. The lyrics, loosely translated, speak of how “the Deigo flowers are blooming brightly, calling the winds, and then the storms arrived.”
It is also said that the song is not just about typhoons, but also about the Battle of Okinawa. Typhoons aren’t all bad, like wars, because they are effective in cooling down the heightened temperatures of the ocean, and so they’re welcomed by corals and other sea creatures. That said though, for travelers, typhoons can adversely affect travel plans, so for the years when the Deigo flowers are in full bloom, let’s hope that it’s nothing more than superstition!
I took the photo above a few years ago, but do the flowers look to be in full bloom to you?
That year, I noticed that many of the Deigo trees that are usually in full bloom didn’t have as many flowers. I had to really search to take this shot.
Maybe we didn’t have as many typhoons that year…hmmm.
Life on Okinawa is closely connected to nature like this, so when you’re on the island during the Urizun season, note the Deigo flowers!!
*Photo Location: Along Route 58 in Ogimi Village, Kunigami, Okinawa
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Hiroshi Kuwamura (KUWA)