Crystal clear water, warm ocean breeze, banana spiders as big as your face. These are just some of the things that come to mind when we think of Okinawa. And while we may not love everything about it, we can't deny that every time we visit this little island we fall in love with it all over again.
Our Oki Pride Heritage Tees are inspired by the rich history of Okinawa. This symbol we use as our logo is known as "three tears" and it represents 3 brave Ryukyuan men from the 16th Century of feudal Japan. Okinawa (at the time the Ryukyu Kingdom) had been taken over by the emperor of mainland Japan who had imposed conditions on the Ryukyuan people. He proclaimed that without exception they would not be allowed to have any weapons and added an annual rice tax that they must deliver to mainland Japan every season.
For many years the Ryukyu people fulfilled those terms until one year when there was a major drought and could no longer grow rice for themselves or for the tax. The Ryukyu people with the lack of food were finding it hard to survive. When the emperor of mainland Japan sent his 3 best samurai warriors to Okinawa to find out why they weren't delivering on their rice tax promise they met with the 3 brave Ryukyuan men. The Ryukyuan men instead asked the emperor if they could have some rice from mainland. They explained how there was a drought and how their people were starving and could really use the rice.
The emperor was appalled, and ordered his 3 samurai warriors the attack the unarmed Ryukyuan men. To his surprised the Ryukyuan men easily took down his 3 samurai without any weapons. You see since the Emperor told the Ryukyu people that they couldn't have weapons they had developed a way of defending themselves unarmed. This unarmed martial art is now known as Karate.
After the emperor fled back to mainland he came back with many more warriors and eventually threw the 3 brave Ryukyuan men into a huge cauldron of boiling water. The symbol, our logo, represents the 3 brave Ryukyuan men swirling around in that boiling water honoring their bravery and their death.
After this, the emperor eventually saw how much the effect that having no rice had on the staving Ryukyu people and agreed to give them rice if they would agree to teach his warriors how to fight unarmed with the art of Karate. Since that day this symbol is used all over Okinawa. You'll see it commonly used at Karate dojos and it's our logo for Oki Pride.
Show your love for Okinawa whenever you put on our Oki Pride Heritage Tee. It's more than just our logo. It's an important part of the Okinawan culture.