Guest Speaker: Akira Kitade

Date: 3/11 (Sat), 3/12 (Sun)

Time:  12:00-13:00

Place: Hawaii Convention Center #310 

The Film: Persona Non Grata

Date: 3/11 (Sat), 3/12 (Sun)

Time:  13:00-15:30

Place: Hawaii Convention Center #310 

FREE Admission
DONATION Thank you for your support



Introduction to Chiune Sugihara


This is the 23rd anniversary of the Honolulu Festival and this year’s sub theme is “Cultural Harmony, Journey to Peace.” One of the favorite Festival activities is the viewing of a film that supports the vision of the Festival. This year, we are showing the movie “Persona Non Grata” “Chiune Sugihara” which is the story of a Japanese Diplomat who had the courage to issue transit visas called “Visa for Life” for 6,000 Jewish refugees during World War Ⅱ which was contrary to the Japanese State Department directions and very risky at that time.

After the Jewish refugees received their visas from Mr. Sugihara, they needed passage to Japan and then to the United States. JTB was involved in arranging passage and escorting the refugees on board the ship Amakusa-maru. From Vladivostok the refugees traveled to Tsuruga and then to ports in Kobe and Yokohama and then to safety in America. This is the story which we call “Relay for Life.”

We are especially proud of JTB’s role in this flight to freedom. It is through the efforts of people like Mr. Suhihara and the JTB staff that a bridge of understanding and goodwill was created.

In addition to the movie presentation, we have invited from Japan, Mr. Akira Kitade, Author of “Visas for Life and the Epic Journey-How the Sugihara Survivors Reached Japan.” He will talk and share about many interesting stories. Also, we will have a surprise Video message to share with all of you.

Please join us on either March 11 or 12, 2017 at Noon for this program with a viewing of this movie at Hawaii Convention Center, Room 310.

On behalf of the Honolulu Festival Foundation, we would appreciate our presence in supporting our “Cultural Harmony, Journey to Peace” and hope you will consider contributing a donation at the movie presentation. We are planning to make donation to the Chiune Sugihara Museum in Lithuania.

Thank you for your support.

Mahalo & aloha,

Tsukasa Harufuku
Honolulu Festival Foundation



Introduction to Sugihara Chiune

The year is 1939, the world was headed toward World War II. As the influence of the Nazi regime strengthened, fear against Jewish communities grew stronger. The European countries under the Nazi regime began persecuting and isolating Jewish people which forced millions of Jewish population to seek for refuge without any hope. It was during this time of chaos, when Chiune Sugihara was assigned to Lithuania as the Vice Consul general of Japan for the Japanese Consulate.

The film Persona Non Grata, depicts the life of Chiune Sugihara, who is referred to as the “Japanese Schindler” that saved thousands of Jewish lives from the Nazi prosecution during World War II. Despite of it, his fateful decision led to disobeying the Japanese government.

The Honolulu Festival is proud to present the life of Chiune Sugihara and the involvement of the Japan Travel Bureau, which led Jewish refugees to escape by ships. We hope to bring light to this important piece of history to promote global peace and harmony.

The Work of Akira Kitade



Visas of Life and the Epic Journey:How the Sugihara Survivors Reached Japan (Chobunsha, 2014)

During World War II, approximately 6,000 Jewish people fled Nazi persecution through transit visa “Visas for Life”, issued by Chiune Sugihara and they have reached the Tsuruga Port in Fukui Prefecture. The people in Tsuruga and Kobe as well as the employees of JTB and Nippon Yusen Kaisha (The Japan Mail Steamship Company) helped those Jewish refugees in Japan. Mr. Kitade went to the U.S. to gather information about the survivors. He wrote the Japanese version of the book based on his researches which was published in June, 2012.

About Akira Kitade

About Akira Kitade
Born in Ueno City, Mie in 1944 (current Iga City). He graduated Keio University with a degree in French literature in 1966. He worked for the Japan National Tourism Organization where he was assigned to Geneva, Dallas and Seoul. He resigned from the company in 2004. Currently, he is working as a freelance writer. His work include Fuusetsu no Kajin (Kodansha Shuppan Service Center, 2002), Pusankou Monogatari (Shakai-hyouronsha, 2009) and Visas of Life and the Epic Journey: How the Sugihara Survivors Reached Japan (Chobunsha, 2014).