Date : Mar 10(Fri), Mar 11(Sat), Mar 12(Sun)
Sub Theme : Cultural Harmony, Journey to Peace
Sub Theme : Cultural Harmony, Journey to Peace
The Honolulu Festival holds an award ceremony called the Ohana Award in honoring those devoted participants who have contributed for many years. This year, there were over 40 participating groups that received the award. The commendation ceremony was held at the Hawaii Convention Center on Friday, March 10. Tsukasa Harufuku, who is the president of the Honolulu Festival Foundation delivered a congratulatory speech and presented the Ohana Award to the following representatives from each of the respective 12 groups. The ceremony was assisted by the Hawaii’s Cherry Blossom Queens which brought much excitement. Congratulations to those that received the award! We are looking forward to seeing you all next year as well.
The Educational School Tour was held at the Hawaii Convention Center on the first day of the 23rd Annual Honolulu Festival, Friday, March 10. The Honolulu Festival Foundation is hosting the Honolulu Festival under 3 themes of “cultural exchange”, “education” and “environment”, instead of only for festive purpose. The Educational School Tour is related to our theme of education. The local students from elementary through high school will be invited to learn diverse cultures. The time was 8:30 a.m. The students from different areas of Oahu got off the buses and gathered by the Hawaii Convention Center. This year, 14 local schools were invited in which there were over 1,000 students. Those students learned and experienced different cultures from 11 performing groups of various countries. Furthermore, the artworks from the Honolulu Festival Art Contest were displayed on the entrance floor this year as well. This contest was opened to a wide range of applicants including elementary students and general public from June of last year. We’ve received a total of 30 artworks which were designed under our sub-theme of “Cultural Harmony, Journey to Peace”. The students were divided into small groups after their arrival. Then, they were led by the volunteers who were in charge of guiding those students to each booth. It is true that the assistance from these volunteers is one of the important factors in developing our event. -Music & Dance- Even though the language may be different, the joy of music and dance is universal. The students must have had a great learning experience through various cultures. -Exhibition- The Honolulu Daijayama is a must for the Honolulu Festival’s Grand Parade. Its cart was exhibited inside the venue, which is a chance to closely observe the head of Daijayama. This exhibition is held every year because of the strong relationship between Daijayama and the Honolulu Festival. Also, there was a display panel that showed the history of the Honolulu Festival which the directors of the Honolulu Festival Foundation were the storytellers who deeply focused on its subject. -Cultural Exchange- The students were able to enjoy various cultures by watching and experiencing in person. Here are the pictures of various scenes at the Educational School Tours. It was memorable to see those smiling students who were fearlessly interacting with people from different countries due to their curiosity. -Cultural Exchange between Students- The students of Sakuragaoka Junior & Senior High School, who were very popular at the Educational School Tour last year were also outstanding this year. Shorinji Kempo involves vigorous shouts and speedy power. The crowd gave a big cheer and applause to such a powerful performance. Also, “Daruma-san ga koronda (Red Light, Green Light)” and sword fighting were popular. It seems that the local students love physical activities as well. There were full of smiles. There were other activities such as kendama, spinning top, play, origami (paper-folding), kamishibai (picture card theater), ohajiki (marbles), Japanese quiz, paper balloon, calligraphy and so forth. The Japanese students introduced various Japanese cultures in unaccustomed English with all their efforts. The Honolulu Festival is looking forward to make new connection via cultural exchange and expand ideas through Educational School Tour. Also, the Honolulu Festival will continue to enhance the educational program for children to contribute to world peace.
The Friendship Gala was held at the Hawaii Convention Center on the first day of the 23rd Annual Honolulu Festival, Friday, March 10. Its purpose is to promote friendship as well as international goodwill between people of Hawaii and people of the Asia-Pacific region. The attendees will have opportunities to experience various cultures through watching cultural performances and enjoying food, which will foster friendship as well as goodwill among one another. -OPENING- The doors opened at 6:40 p.m. Our volunteering members greeted the guests with smiles by the entrance. -GREETINGS- Each of the special guest including Tsukasa Harufuku, president of the Honolulu Festival Foundation delivered a congratulatory speech. The Friendship Gala began by congratulating the 5th anniversary of the sister city relationship between Nagaoka City and Honolulu. -INSIDE THE VENUE: Food and Interactions- There were over 1,000 attendees at the Hawaii Convention Center. Also, there were booths run by 8 popular local restaurants in which they offered a variety of interesting dishes. All of them were very popular since those restaurants are well-known in Hawaii. Everyone was greatly pleased by those well-prepared dishes, which encouraged more interactions. -STAGE PERFORMANCE- The stage performance began while the guests were conversating and enjoying tasty dishes! Sonoda Gakuen High School vigorously appeared on stage with uplifting music. A total of 250 students practiced hard for a year to present their dance in the Grade Parade, which will be held on the final day of the Honolulu Festival. Few of them were selected to perform on stage for the Friendship Gala. Their dancing performance was watched over by the teammates and the guests in the VIP seats. Those beaming smiles make us smile as well. The students of Sonoda Gakuen High School danced energetically with their quick steps which brought excitement to the audience. The next appearance was Un Bijou consisted of 3 choreographers. This group won the Special Recognition Award at Legend Tokyo, which is one of the greatest dancing competitions in Japan. Even their fingertips were moving smoothly which the dance was maturely attractive. 111-HAWAII AWARD is the Hawaii’s first ranking award determined through online voting which began from January 11. The affiliates of the 111-HAWAII PROJECT announced the intermediate results on stage. The award was hosted by the Hawai’i Tourism Authority, which the Hawaiian lovers will be voting the “Best of Hawaii’s” for each of the 50 categories such as gourmet food, souvenirs and tours. You will also have a chance to receive a gift by lottery. The voting period is until July 10! Philippine Cultural Dancers performed traditional Filippino dances including Pandanggo sa llaw from Luzon Island, Kuratsa from Visayas Island and Singkil from Mindanao Island. Those dances portrayed the lives of each community which created a mysterious atmosphere. The charity auction was held for the first time at the Honolulu Festival this year. There were some fascinating items offered by our sponsors. It was memorable to see those who were new to auction buying courageously trying to participate in bidding. By the time the stage performance was coming to an end, the Hawaii’s famous musicians appeared on stage. One of them was Mailani, who is known as a Hawaiian musician that received the Female Vocalist of the Year at the 2015 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards (Hawaii’s equivalent of the Grammy Awards). She sang the Hawaiian songs with her soft voice. Also, the group Na Hoa performed traditional Hawaiian music. Their talent is widely recognized among the Hawaiian musicians. The group also received 4 awards at the 2013 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards. In addition, Milani and Na Hoa did a collaborative performance accompanied by the elegant hula dancers, which fascinated the audience. In closing, Riseki Tobaya and Kineya Miori performed shamisen (a traditional 3-stringed Japanese musical instrument) with their excellent skills. It’s time for finale. Ryukyu Koten Afuso-ryu Ongaku Kenkyuu Choichi Kai Hawaii played Okinawan drums and the sound resonated throughout the venue. Then, many stood up and rushed up to the stage. Everyone enjoyed dancing the kachāshī (Okinawan folk dance that uses hands) and became united regardless of gender and age! At last, numerous shining ribbons were released onto the stage with a boom! It was such an impressive finale. This year, there were many programs offered at the Friendship Gala compared to the previous years. A portion of the ticket fee will be used to host and operate the Honolulu Festival. Also, we are providing an educational opportunity for the local high schools every year by selecting one school in Hawaii and send their students to Japan for learning purposes. Please continue to support the Honolulu Festival as we embrace and develop the 3 themes of “cultural exchange”, “education” and “environment”. ≪Online Donation≫ Please Support Us Your donation will be a tremendous support to the Honolulu Festival.
The Grand Parade was held in the warm weather during the evening on Sunday, March 12, which is the final day of the 23rd Annual Honolulu Festival. This is a parade that is being held on Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki every year. The performers will be performing from Saratoga Road and heading to the east, where the Honolulu Zoo is located. Many spectators regardless of race gather by the roadside to see the dignified performers who presented their own talent and unique culture in 3 days for the last time. Those performers gave joy and inspiration which the audience discovered new findings of various cultures. The Honolulu Festival’s Grand Parade received the Legacy Award from the City and County of Honolulu Over many years, the Honolulu Festival Foundation continued to serve as a mediator of a sister city between Nagaoka City and the city of Honolulu. Also, there was a special event to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II at Pearl Harbor on August of 2015 which was successful. Also, the Mayor and the Vice Mayor of Honolulu visited Japan and established a good relationship with Nagaoka City. Furthermore, the Honolulu Festival’s Grand Parade has received the Legacy Award from the city of Honolulu on October 22, 2015. As a result, our Grand Parade was recognized as an annual event of Honolulu, which does not require a special request for approval from the city. We would like to give a great appreciation to the city of Honolulu for understanding and supporting the Honolulu Festival. 【Opening Performance】 The opening performance was held at 4 locations, where the mic stands were set up. *Click on thumbnails to view enlarged image. 【Grand Parade】 The Grand Parade finally began at 4:30 p.m. This year, Nagaoka City marks the 5th anniversary of sister city relationship with the city of Honolulu. The powerful sound of taiko drums resonated on the streets. 【In the midst of the Grand Parade】 The children proudly marched on the streets as well. 【End of the Grand Parade】 The Grand Parade reached its final stretch as the sky gradually became darker. By the time when the sun was set, the Akita Kanto Festival reappeared and performed once again. Those messages on the lanterns were conveyed by the spectators as well. Then finally, the Honolulu Daijayama made a powerful appearance as the flames were sparking from its head! It appears for the finale of the Grand Parade every year. The Honolulu Daijayama stared at the spectators with a rough expression on its face as it moved left and right. Kalakaua Avenue was still filled with excitement even after the final Honolulu Daijayama had passed by. The performers performed their best with smiles while the spectators gave a big cheer. The Grand Parade was created by the performers, guests and affiliates from around the world with Hawaii, which this event can be a great memory. The theme of the 23rd Annual Honolulu Festival is “Cultural Harmony, Journey to Peace”. We believe that this Grand Parade leads to the “Journey to Peace”. The Honolulu Festival will continue to host the Grand Parade every year, where people can enjoy cultural exchange and lead them to “Journey to Peace”.
The Nagaoka Fireworks was held for the finale at the 23rd Annual Honolulu Festival on March 12, 2017. This show is inspiring a lot of audience every year, which this year was the 6th time. There were many people who were heading to watch the Nagaoka Fireworks as soon as the Grand Parade had ended. Kalakaua Avenue was packed even though it was an hour before the show. Also, Waikiki Beach was filled with audience who were anticipatedly waiting for the fireworks to be launched. The time is 8:30 p.m. All of sudden, a straight line of light quickly appeared and the big white flower bloomed in the night sky. This white color fireworks is symbolizing a prayer for world peace. The Honolulu Festival’s Nagaoka Fireworks began with 3 shots of white color fireworks. The music from the Hawaiian 105 KINE radio made the show dramatic and exciting. The fireworks were shot in a smooth manner, while Hawaiʻi Ponoʻī was being played on the radio. It has been almost 10 years since the 2004 Chūetsu earthquake. The fireworks called Phoneix which symbolizes recovery of Nagaoka City was shot off along with a song, Jupitar by Ayaka Hirahara. There were loud cheers and applause all over the beach, when the large-scale fireworks were launched. The Honolulu Festival’s theme song, ~ONE LOVE Pacific Harmony~ by Dai Hirai was being played as colorful fireworks lit up the sky. Eventually, Waikiki Beach was in a relaxed atmosphere. Here comes the climax. The beach was filled with excitement when the theme song of Ten-Chi-Jin (historical Japanese drama that took place in Nagaoka City) came on. The excitement was at its zenith as random shots of Shidare-yanagi (weeping willow) were launched into the sky! The Nagaoka Fireworks were launched into the sky of Waikiki with messages of “memorial” “recovery” and “world peace” for approximately 15 minutes. After the show was over, we were able to see many interactions among the audience in which they expressed their excitement and emotion to one another. The Honolulu Festival is an annual event which is held for the 23rd time this year. It began with trial and error, which now became the major cultural festival, where people around the world are eager to join. The Honolulu Festival would like to expand friendships beyond ethnic groups and generations under the theme of “Pacific Harmony”. Also, we would like to continue expanding a circle of goodwill among Japan, Hawaii and other Pacific Rim countries, as well as countries around the world. We would like to thank Nagaoka City and the city of Honolulu, as well as all of our sponsors for supporting the Nagaoka Fireworks. Also, we would like to thank every member who was involved in this event for over a long period of time.
This year’s highlighted event, the “Inspiring Story of Chiune Sugihara” was conducted under the theme of the 23rd Annual Honolulu Festival, “Cultural Harmony, Journey to Peace”. The Honolulu Festival is a festive event which can be fun and glamourous. At the same time, the symposium is hosted by the festival every year which has an innovative cultural value. These symposiums may still be fresh in your memory: The 21th Symposium (2015): Vision for the Future Ecotourism of Hawaii The 22nd Symposium (2016): Japanese in Hawai’i: From the plantation to Pearl Harbor to peace This year, we changed the format of our symposium and focused on the topic of Chiune Sugihara in 2 sessions. The first session was a keynote lecture by Akira Kitade, who is closely related to Chiune Sugihara. Then the Japanese film, Persona Non Grata (2015) was screened during the second session. This event was held for 2 days on Saturday, March 11 and Sunday, March 12. The theater was full which some of the audience were standing. The first session consisted of 4 programs: Short speech by Tsukasa Harufuku, president of the Honolulu Festival Foundation Video message by Toyoei Shigeeda, the current Ambassador of Japan in Lithuania Speech by Mr. Seymour Kazimirski from Temple Emanu-El Keynote lecture by Mr. Akira Kitade, the author of Visas of Life and the Epic Journey: How the Sugihara Survivors Reached Japan (Chobunsha, 2014) [from the left] Tsukasa Harufuku (president of the Honolulu Festival Foundation), Mr. Seymour Kazimirski (from Temple Emanu-El), Mr. Kitade (author of Visas of Life and the Epic Journey: How the Sugihara Survivors Reached Japan) The second session featured a film screening of the 2005 Japanese film, Persona Non Grata. ©2015 “PERSONA NON GRATA” FILM PARTNERS Furthermore, the event was planned and executed by President Harufuku and his staffs. In addition, the planning began 10 months prior to the festival, which the staffs were busy requesting for cooperation and coordinating with various organizations. We were able to share our important message of world peace by observing the real-world situations such as conflicts and ethnic problems through this year’s event. 【Short Speech by Tsukasa Harufuku, President of the Honolulu Festival Foundation】 President Harufuku of the Honolulu Festival Foundation introduced the achievement of the Japan Tourist Bureau (current JTB Group) in which the company was involved in transporting the Jewish refugees from Vladivostok, Russia to Tsuruga, Japan, while Chiune Sugihara was issuing the visas. Next, the video message was shown which was presented by Toyoei Shigeeda, who was the former Consul General of Japan and also the current Ambassador of Japan in Lithuania. Afterwards, Mr. Seymour Kazimirski from Temple Emanu-El, who lives in Oahu gave a speech. Then it was followed by the keynote lecture by Mr. Akira Kitade, who is the author of Visas of Life and the Epic Journey: How the Sugihara Survivors Reached Japan. At last, President Harufuku thanked all the supporters and called for donations for the Sugihara House, which is a museum located in Lithuania. 【Video Message by Toyoei Shigeeda, the Ambassador of Japan in Lithuania】 Lithuania is a country which is crucial in discussing about Chiune Sugihara. Toyoei Shigeeda, the current Ambassador of Japan in Lithuania (former Consul General of Japan in Honolulu) sent us a surprising video message for this event. Akio Hoshino, who is the executive director of the Honolulu Festival Foundation has a relationship with Ambassador Shigeeda, who was also the former Consul General of Japan in Honolulu. Hence, he was able to prepare the video message from early on. Also, Shinichiro Sugita, an employee of JTB Czech Republic made a great effort for Ambassador Shigeeda to introduce about Lithuania, which the video mainly focused on the museum of Chiune Sugihara. The video included scenes of the Sugihara House (former Japanese consulate), Metropolis Hotel (where the visas were issued) and the monument of Chiune Sugihara located in Vilnius. 【Speech by Mr. Seymour Kazimirski from Temple Emanu-El】 The parents of Mr. Seymour are both Holocaust survivors. They escaped from the Nazi’s and immigrated to Canada. Only these 2 from the Kazimirski family have survived, but the rest of 64 family members were killed by the Nazi’s. Mr. Seymour committed himself to teach about the experiences of his parents to the next generation, which he lectured on the Holocaust at over 100 local schools. Also, he shared the story of Linda Lingle, the former governor of Hawaii when she proclaimed April 3, 2003 to be Chiune Sugihara Day. Mr. Seymour also told his unforgettable emotional moment with Mrs. Sachiko, who is the wife of Chiune Sugihara and her son Mr. Chiaki in which they visited Hawaii for the event in 2003. In addition, he paid a tribute to Chiune Sugihara for his courageous action that risked his own life. The speech given by Mr. Seymour was filled with historical facts. It seems that the historical action taken by Chiune Sugihara was widely recognized as truth. We would like to appreciate Mr. Seymour for his speech. 【Keynote Lecture by Mr. Akira Kitade; the Author of Visas of Life and the Epic Journey: How the Sugihara Survivors Reached Japan】 The main event of the first segment featured a keynote lecture by Mr. Akira Kitade, which was interpreted simultaneously in English and Japanese. Instead of focusing on Chiune Sugihara alone, Mr. Kitade has been researching about Tatsuo Osako, an employee of the Japan Tourist Bureau, who supported Sugihara in the background. His research began since 2010, which he also focused on the “Sugihara survivors” who have survived as a result of visas issued by Chiune Sugihara. The PowerPoint slides were used during the lecture. Mr. Tatsuo Osako was an employee of the Japan Tourist Bureau, who helped transport the Jewished refugees from Vladivostok to Tsuruga in Japan. As a matter of fact, he was a boss to Mr.Kitade, which is the reason why Mr. Kitade began his research. In the film, Persona Non Grata, Gaku Hamada, a young talented actor played the role of Mr. Osako. The upper left photo is Mr. Osako himself. The year was 1940. It all started at Rockefeller Center in New York. One day, the phone rang at the Japan Tourist Bureau office, which was located inside Rockefeller Center. “This is Walter Brown Company. We have received a request from the Jewish Society in the U.S. that they need assistance in evacuating the Jewish refugees from Europe, who were persecuted by Nazis as a result of World War II. We would like to request your company to transport these Jewish refugees from Vladivostok in Siberia to Tsuruga by ships. Will this be possible?” The phone call was received by a woman named Hazel Allison. She and her boss sent a telegram to the headquarters in Tokyo. The picture on the slide is the actual telegram. Furthermore, there was a heated discussion in the headquarters. This is because Japan was allied with Germany during this period. Hence, the evacuation of the Jewish refugees would go against the German anti-Jewish policy, so indeed many opposed to the idea. Despite of it, the Japan Tourist Bureau finally accepted to assist the plan based on a humanitarian point of view. The picture on the right side is the ship that was used for transportation called the “Amakusa Maru” which weighs 2,346 tons. According to Mr. Osako’s mémoire, the mission was carried out during the stormiest season in the Sea of Japan from the end of 1940 through the beginning of Spring in the following year. This is a photo of Mr. Osako with his coworkers. You can also see the Jewish refugee standing in the center. Mr. Osako: second from the right side in the front row. Mr. Kitade: third in the center of the back row. Mr. Osako and Mr. Kitade first met at the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO). Moreover, Mr. Kitade joined the company in 1966. On the other hand, Mr. Osako was assigned from the Japan Tourist Bureau to JNTO around the same time. Hence, Mr. Kitade had an opportunity to work under the guidance of Mr. Osako for nearly 3 years. During the period when he was working with Mr. Osako, he wasn’t aware that Mr. Osako was involved in the evacuation project of the Jewish refugees. After Mr. Kitade found out about it, he saw the photos of the Jewish refugees which were kept in Mr. Osako’s photo album. He finally discovered the truth after 60 years later since Mr. Osako’s involvement. These are the photos of 7 Jewish refugees from the photo album in which Mr. Kitade was very impressed. He couldn’t stop thinking about where and what those survivors were doing now. Mr. Kitade was most impressed by the second photo of a woman from the left bottom row. This is because her harsh stare expressed the suffering of Jewish people. The name and message were handwritten on the back of each photo in their respective native language including Norwegian, Bulgarian, Polish German and others. Also, the farewell message to Mr. Osako was written such as: “with fond memories to my good friend, Tatsuo Osako” “Remember me” “Remember me. To the nice Japanese person” “To Dear Mr. Ohsako” 【In Search of the Sugihara Survivors】 Mr. Kitade went to the U.S. to search for the Sugihara survivors on September, 2010. Prior to his departure, he obtained the contact information of 9 survivors from Yaotsu, Gifu, which is a hometown of Chiune Sugihara and also through the municipal office in Tsuruga, Fukui. Dr. Sylvia Smoller is currently living in New York. She is also known for donating her Sugihara visa to Yaotsu Gifu. Her visa had saved the lives of 3 including her parents and herself. The photo on the right is the actual Sugihara visa. Mr. Benjamin Fishoff is a banker living in New York. He arrived in Tsuruga by the Amakusa Maru, but he didn’t have the necessary documents, so he was sent back to Vladivostok. He was prepared to be in Siberia however, he was able to enter into Tsuruga with the support from the Jewish organization in Kobe. By the time Mr. Fishoff left Europe, his family members were all taken to the concentration camp, where they lost their lives. Also, he was all alone without a single relative when he moved to the U.S. Despite of it, he worked hard and also he was blessed with his wife, 5 sons and 28 grandsons. Also, he told us that he have uncountable number of great-grandchildren. After Mr. Kitade returned to Japan, he was given many opportunities to lecture on his findings. In April of 2014, as a result of his effort, he was able to identify 5 Sugihara survivors out of 7 whose photos can be seen in Mr. Osako’s photo album. The photo of a sad-eyed woman was identified as Mrs. Sonia Reed. It has been told that she got married after she moved to the U.S. and lived a happy life. The only photo of a man in the photo album was identified as Mr. Nissim Segaloff aka Nicky Sargent, who played backgammon after he moved to the U.S. He was internationally recognized as one of the great players. In addition, he won second place in the first international backgammon tournament in the Bahamas. His later whereabouts are unknown. The information of these Sugihara survivors discovered in the U.S. was published in the book, Visas of Life and the Epic Journey: How the Sugihara Survivors Reached Japan. We would like to appreciate Mr. Kitade for taking the time to arrange the lecture with the Honolulu Festival Foundation and also for passionately sharing his stories through his book. Visas of Life and the Epic Journey: How the Sugihara Survivors Reached Japan (Chobunsha, 2014) written by Mr. Kitade 【Film Screening: Persona Non Grata】 The film screening was held after the keynote lecture. The film, Persona Non Grata depicts the life of Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat often referred to as the “Japanese Schindler”, who issued transit visa “Visas for Life” to approximately 6,000 Jewish refugees so that they can escape from Nazi persecution via Japan. Sugihara’s courageous action was risky, since it was against the order of the Japanese government. After the Jewish refugees obtained their visa from Mr. Sugihara, they needed transportation from Europe to the U.S. via Japan. The Japan Tourist Bureau (current JTB Group) arranged the ship called the “Amakusa Maru” to transport those Jewish refugees. The Amakukusa Maru traveled from Vladivostok to Tsuruga and from Kobe to Yokohama then safely arrived in the U.S. with the Jewish refugees as well as the employees of the Japan Tourism Bureau aboard. Surely, this is the story of “Relay of Life”. Also, the display panel related to “Visas for Life” was set up outside the theater hall with the cooperation of JTB. There was a long queue in front of the display panel after the film screening which ran for 2 hours. We received positive feedback from the audience such as “it was great”, “it was touching” and so forth. Furthermore, the staffs and volunteers of the Honolulu Festival Foundation have gathered to collect donations for the Sugihara House, a museum of Chiune Sugihara in Lithuania. A total of $1,000 was raised from the audience who were impressed by the keynote lecture of Mr. Kitade as well as the film, Persona Non Grata. The donation was also made by the Honolulu Festival Foundation which raised $2,000 in total. The baton of “Relay for Life” was handed down from Chiune Sugihara to Tatsuo Osako, then to people of Hawaii through the inspiring story of Chiune Sugihara. We believe that this event created a place for people to “think” and “act” on peace.