The 27th Honolulu Festival will take place on March 12-14, 2021

Archives 2018(24th)

Date : Mar 9(Fri), Mar 10(Sat), Mar 11(Sun)
Sub Theme : Harmony over the Ocean, Journey to Peace

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Educational Program

Educational School Tour 2018


The Educational School Tour was held on March 9th (Fri.), 2018 on the first day of the 24th Honolulu Festival, targeting the elementary to high school students who live on Oahu. This educational program is designed to provide a cross-cultural encounter for the Hawaii community and its children. The participating artists and performers, with programs specifically prepared for this tour, provided interaction with the children, giving them valuable cross-cultural experiences. Over 1,100 students from 17 schools in Hawaii participated in this year’s educational school tour. The students were divided into groups of approximately 20, and each group was escorted to six booths, one group at a time. This year, 15 groups from Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Australia, Marshall Islands and Hawaii gave presentations, played musical instruments, and performed dances. There was a special program, for Junior high and high school students, that commemorated the 150th anniversary of Hawaii’s Japanese Immigration. In addition to viewing the exhibition panels “Hawaii Nikkei Legacy,” the students also received a special lecture to learn about this piece of history. -The Long-Awaited Day Has Come!- At 9 a.m., the school buses started to arrive and the students poured in. The students’ faces glowed with excitement and anticipation.   Outside the exhibition hall were the history boards, displaying the history of the Honolulu Festival year-by-year from its beginning.   Yagura is a high wooden scaffold for bon dance. The children enjoyed dancing bon dance in a circle around the yagura. -What the Local People Want to Pass On- Honolulu Daijayama As soon as the students walked in the exhibit hall, the large head of a dragon greeted them. The Omuta Daijayama tradition, a summer festival in Omuta city, Fukuoka-prefecture, and Honolulu’s sister city, traveled to Honolulu and became the Honolulu Daijayama. A group of local volunteers obtained the parade float and has continued the tradition in Honolulu since 2008. Japanese folklore considered the dragon a god of water; it watered the farmlands and kept children healthy. It was not a bad character as we may think. The float is made from three parts, head, body, and tail, and measures 13 meters (43 feet) in length and 5 meters (16 feet) in height. People in the float beat the drums and clanged the bells loudly while the float paraded, furiously spewing sparks into the air. At the finale of this year’s Grand Parade, the Daijayama float appeared, with a massive dragon head swaying, and showed a dynamic performance. The spark spewing dragon is absolutely a must-see!   Hawaii Nikkei Legacy Next, the students visited the exhibition panels, “Hawaii Nikkei Legacy.” This year marks the 150 year anniversary since the first Japanese immigrants migrated to Hawaii. The students learned about; how the Japanese immigrants blended in the Hawaiian culture, hardships they had to endure when the war broke out, and how the Japanese culture took root in Hawaii. Learning about these issues helped the students understand the reason for the strong bond between Japan and America. The Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor One of the most popular booths among the children was the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor. The children were fascinated with a chance to wear actual pilot gear and have hands-on experience with the flight simulation.     -Interchange With the Different Parts of the World- People from different parts of the world participated in the exhibition. Hawaii Taiwan Center The Hawaii Taiwan Center displayed Taiwanese puppets (gifts from the city of Kaohsiung, Taiwan to Honolulu), handmade crafts, and puppet show costumes. The Naluwa Dance Group, from Mandarin Academy, performed their dance.   Taiwanese Association of America This group performed the Dragon Dance that had the spectators all elated, sharing the traditional Taiwanese culture.   Han-Ul, Inha University Han-Ul, Inha University performed the beautiful percussion ensemble, Samul-nori, playing four instruments, the jang-gu, buk, jing, and kkwaeg-gwa-ri, traditional Korean musical instruments.   Marshall Islands People from the Marshall Islands showcased amimono, crafts made from palm tree leaves. The Marshall Islands used to be a mandated territory of Japan until during the WWII; therefore, they sometimes use words that have Japanese origin.   Wagana Aboriginal Dancers The dancers performed Australian Aboriginal dance. Children enjoyed body painting, which was made of natural clay.   -Interchange with People from Japan- Students gathered around the Japanese booths and were fascinated by the presentation. Sakurakomachi Japanese Music and Dance Group This group performed the traditional Japanese musical instruments, koto, Tsugaru shamisen, shinobue, and wadaiko. The students were mesmerized with the beautiful tunes.   Chigasaki City Eboshi-Maro is a mascot character of the city of Chigasaki, Honolulu’s sister city. Eboshi-Maro in his Hawaiian aloha shirt and short pants, gained instant fame with children. Did the students become familiar with Chigasaki city?   Nani Pomaikai Ribbon Lei The group demonstrated the difference between ribbon lei, Hawaiian traditional craftwork, Japanese Tsumami-zaiku (“tucked crafts”), and Tsurushi-kazari (“hanging ornaments”). The students were engaged and attentive to the lecture.   Lohas Festa Underscoring the theme, “Grass roots environmental awareness leads to great social movements,” Lohas Festa explained to the local students the concept of, “lifestyle that promotes health and sustainable society.”   Aoyama Gakuin University Chatters The cheerleaders from Aoyama Gakuin University cheerleading club, “Chatters”, gave a very upbeat and lively talk about their passion, and brought smiles to everyone through dance.   Doyo Chorus Utanakama The group members, together with the children, sang traditional Japanese children’s songs that have existed for ages. Singing loudly may be the secret for their longevity.   Sakuragaoka Junior Highs School and High School It is the school’s third time to the Honolulu Festival. Three hundred high school freshmen introduced Japanese culture to the students in Hawaii. The Japanese and local students had a blast with calligraphy, origami (“folding paper art”), and Fukuwarai (“make-a-face game”). The language barrier didn’t seem to be an issue with the students as they tried to communicate in English. It was quite an impressive sight.       -Finish with Bon Dance- Following the students’ visit to all the exhibit booths, the last activity took place outside the exhibit hall, a bon dance.   Since the Japanese culture has taken deep root in Hawaii and people are familiar with Japanese tradition, many students danced the bon dance quite well. During the summer, bon dances are held at various locations all over Hawaii. The following photos are students and the participating groups interacting with one another. The children’s sparkling eyes were telling it all, the fun that they were having.                The cross-cultural exchange experience left lasting impressions in the hearts of the children. The students realized that there is bigger world beyond the land of Hawaii, and in each society, a wide variety of people live their lives according to their own traditions and culture. The Honolulu Festival will continue to host the Educational School Tours for the local students. The main theme of the Honolulu Festival is “Pacific Harmony – Love and Trust.” Our vision is to, “Search for a peaceful lifestyle through trans-ethnic cultural exchange.” We hope to play a role in attaining world peace through cultivating trans-ethnic and trans-generational friendship and strengthening the bonds among Japan, Hawaii, and Pacific rim countries.


Ohana Award 2018


The Ohana Award ceremony was held at the Hawaii Convention Center on Friday evening of March 9th. The recipients of the Ohana Award were the repeat participating groups that have contributed to building friendships across borders through cultural exchanges. The master of ceremony was Kei Segawa, a household face in events in Hawaii. Mr. Tsukasa Harufuku, the president of the Honolulu Festival Foundation, the host of the Honolulu Festival, made opening remarks. “We extend our warm welcome to the guests from Japan for the 24th Honolulu Festival. This year, 3,200 people came from Japan. We would like to present the awards to the most repeating participating groups in the Honolulu Festival. We greatly appreciate your support.” The following is the list of the award recipients. (numbers of years participating in parenthesis) Yasuko Shimizu and Her Fellow Singers (20) With the slogan “Songs prevail in the world,” this group continues to play a role, through concerts and dinner shows, building friendship bonds between Japan and America through cross-cultural interchange. Honolulu Daijayama Booster Group Inspired to Make the Daijayama Known Throughout the World (19) his group inherited the “Omuta Daijayama” tradition, the summer festival in Omuta city, Fukuoka, Honolulu’s sister city. Its Hawaii version, “Honolulu Daijayama,” an impressive parade float, became a popular Honolulu summer tradition. The 53rd Honolulu Sister City Goodwill Delegation from Hiroshima (19) Hiroshima, Honolulu’s first sister city, sent a delegation to the Honolulu Festival. During the parade, the tourism friendship ambassadors promoted Hiroshima tourism to the spectators. Saitama Ryujin Matsuri Kai (15) Saitama city mascot, “Ryujin (dragon god),” is a symbol of people’s determination toward community development. The group paraded with the large-size “Ryujin,” electrifying the spectators. Sonoda Gakuin High School (13) Sonoda Gakuin High school is located in Amagasaki city, Hyogo prefecture. Every year, its sophomore students dance in the parade; the 300-hundred-student-dance is quite impressive. Lahainaluna High School (13) Every year, students from Lahainaluna High School in Maui come to participate in the Honolulu Festival Educational Program. Puanani Kobayashi Hula School (8) The hula school, located in Aichi prefecture, advocates “dancing hula delightfully with a heart of aloha.” Chigasaki City – Sister City of Honolulu (5) Chigasaki is Honolulu’s sister city. Its rich nature and the popularity of surfing there resemble Hawaii in regard to its climate and culture. Monden Momo Song & Dance Cultural Exchange (5) The singing/dancing group is from Izumo, Shimane prefecture. It produces original musicals, based on the myths that were told in the Izumo area from ancient times. Bunkyo University Yamaguchi Seminar/Volunteer Participation (5) Yamaguchi Seminar students came to experience voluntarism as a part of their study, “Hospitality Management in the Tourism Industry.” Hula O Hokkaido (4) Hula O Hokkaido hula school arrived from snowy Hokkaido. Performing the hula on stage in flower-blooming Honolulu is the members’ dream-come-true. Han-UI / Inha University (4) A group of students from the Natural Science Department in Inha University played beautiful music, using traditional Korean musical instruments. Sakuran (3) The performing group, led by Takayuki Wada, modernized traditional Japanese performing arts. Wagana Aboriginal Dancers (3) The modern Australian aboriginal dance group showcased aboriginal culture through performances and craft displays. Osaka Gakuin University Cheerleading Team (3) This high-level cheerleading squad placed second in the Kansai Championship and sixth in the National Championship in 2017. Sakuragaoka Middle School & High School (3) ne hundred high school freshmen from Sakuragaoka High School introduced Japanese culture at a craft booth and also performed in the parade. The below groups were not able to attend the award ceremony. We greatly appreciate their participation and contribution throughout the years. ●Hirosaki Neputa Manji Kai (14) ●International Flower Arrangement Association (14) ●Japan Nankin Tamasudare Association (13) ●Japan High School of Music (9) ●Lau Kaukani (9) ●Nagaoka City (8) ●TAMA Hawaiian Hula (7) ●Halau Hula O Moanikeala (6) ●Pikake Leilani Hula Hālau (6) ●Komazawa Women’s University Honolulu Internship/Volunteer Participation (6) ●All Japan Gymnastics of Health Study Association (5) ●Getappers (4) ●Japanese Handicraft Guidance Society Rozashi (4) ●Remember 3-11 Kyushu Hula Girl Caravan (4) ●Sophia University Cheerleading Team EAGLES (4) ●Studio Dance Alive (4) ●Tokyo Visual Arts (4) ●Kobe Shoin Women’s University/Volunteer Participation (4) ●Best Body International In Honolulu 2018 (3) ●Hoa Aloha (3) ●Kanda Institute of Foreign Languages/ Volunteer Participation (3) At the end of the ceremony, the award recipients paused for a group photo. They received enormous applause from the audience. Congratulations to the award recipients! We look forward to seeing you again next year and more years to come.


Friendship Party 2018


The Ohana Award was followed by the Friendship Party, an enormously popular event. The guests were treated with live entertainment by Hawaii’s top artists as well as nine different savory dishes, provided by prominent local restaurants. The program also included participating group performances, providing an opportunity to socialize and cultivate friendships among the participating groups and local people. The proceeds from the Friendship Party will be used to provide excellent educational programs that benefit local young people, increasing their understanding and aware-ness of international affairs. -The 24th Honolulu Festival, Friendship Party Began!- At the door, guests were welcomed by the enthusiastic Osaka Gakuin University Cheerleaders, a great icebreaker for an exciting event. The exhibition hall was soon packed with people; 1,300 people attended this year’s Friendship Party. -Introducing The Dishes by Nine Restaurants!- Chefs from nine popular local restaurants prepared their specialty menu. ①Artizen by MW The Hawaii regional cuisine restaurant promotes the concept of “locally grown for local consumption.” Guests enjoyed the innovative and contemporary Asian taste of, Jidori Chicken Stew with Black Pepper Gravy.   ②Eating House 1849 Waikiki Eating House 1849 was established first in Kauai by the award-winning chef, Roy Yamaguchi, using locally grown products. Ginger Lemongrass Chicken Congee is one of their original dishes, using locally grown products.   ③Nico’s Pier 38 Nico’s Pier 38, a stylish and relaxed restaurant is located right at the Honolulu Harbor, and features fresh fish bought every day at the Honolulu auction. They served Mini poke Bowls.   ④Chef Chai One of Hawaii’s premier chefs, Chef Chai, produced Fresh Ahi & Salmon Poke Dip with Toasted Sesame Seed & Crostini, an intricate blending of Eastern and Western flavors.   ⑤12th Ave Grill 12 Ave Grill, a highly popular restaurant in Kaimuki, especially among the health-conscious locals, and is known for its cuisine made from local fresh organic products. They showcased Maui Cattle Company Beef Tataki.   ⑥Stripsteak Waikiki The steakhouse, owned by Chef Micheal Mina, a recipient of one Michelin star and other prestigious awards, served Instant Bacon.   ⑦EAT Honolulu EAT Honolulu is a unique catering restaurant, known for its original cuisine. They served a beautifully prepared Vegetarian Meal.   ⑧Halekulani For the past 100 years since its establishment in 1917, the prestigious Halekulani Hotel has been serving the guests with supreme hospitality. They brought Steamed Pork belly Buns.   ⑨Honolulu Coffee Company Honolulu Coffee Company is rated, by its customers, the best coffee shop in Hawaii that serves the high-quality Kona coffee. They provided Rangpur Coconut Panna Cotta.   The guests enjoyed a variety of original dishes, prepared exclusively for the event. Every food booth drew crowds, who wished to try the special flavors. -Entertainment Begins!- The Keiki Tahitian group, “Royal Polynesians” opened the program. This group is led by Kumu Tunui, an authority in Polynesian dance. The children danced very dynamically and confidently.   Following the Award Ceremony, Kei Segawa served as the master of ceremony. Her English-speaking co-emcee was Okinawa-born David Lancaster. Mr. Tsukasa Harufuku, the Honolulu Festival Foundation President, opened with a few words, “We would like to welcome the people from Japan to the 24th Honolulu Festival. We wish that you will enjoy the evening.” The following speaker was Mr. Hiroyuki Hirose, Executive Director of the Nagaoka Fireworks Foundation, the sponsor of the Nagaoka Fireworks on the final day of the Honolulu Festival. Mr. Hirose stated, “In 2014, Nagaoka and Honolulu became sister cities. This year marks the 7th anniversary since the Nagaoka Fireworks started in Honolulu. We launch the Nagaoka Fireworks with our prayers for world peace. We hope, through this event in Honolulu, the message of pursuing permanent peace will be sent out to the world. Please come and join our annual Nagaoka Fireworks in Japan. It will be held in August.” Mr. Mike McCartney, chief of staff for the State of Hawaii, addressed, “Aloha! On behalf of the Governor of the State of Hawaii, David Ige, it is my pleasure to welcome you. Congratulations to this year’s Honolulu Festival. The Friendship Party embodies this year’s theme – “Peace and Harmony.” Each of us has an obligation to advance peace and harmony, and to make this world a more peaceful place to live. I believe that peace efforts begin here in Hawaii.” Finally, Mr. Roy Amemiya, Deputy Mayor of the city of Honolulu, also made remarks, “On behalf of Mayor Caldwell, it is my pleasure to welcome you all. We are truly grateful to the sponsors and co-sponsors for their support. Hawaii is made up of beautiful islands. Please extend your visit to other islands in addition to Oahu. You will encounter the aloha spirit in all of these places. We hope you enjoy the program.” The Issei (first generation Japanese-Americans) through sansei (third generation Japanese-Americans) from Brazil and Peru gathered at this year’s Festival for cultural exchange with Japanese Americans in Hawaii. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Japanese immigrants to Hawaii as well as the 110th anniversary of the arrival of Japanese immigrants to Brazil. The members from UJSH (United Japanese Society of Hawaii) joined the event in order to deepen the relationships between Japanese immigrants in Hawaii and Brazil. A video was played portraying the respective histories of Japanese immigration to Hawaii and Brazil. Following is the list of entertainers. Sakurakomachi Japanese Music and Dance Group Consisting of all female members, this orchestra group, travels worldwide, performing a wide variety of musical genres, from Japanese classics to modern popular numbers. They perform with traditional Japanese musical instruments: koto, shakuhachi, Tsugaru-shamisen, shinobue, and wadaiko. A dynamic Tsugaru-shamisen solo performance was followed by beautiful shinobue tunes and powerful wadaiko drumming. At the finale, koto joined the ensemble and they played and sang “Sakura, Sakura.” It captivated the audience.   Tunui’s Royal Polynesians The next performance was Keiki hula, led by Kumu Tunui, who has over 40 years experience teaching hula at his renowned halau. This halau has been performing at Disneyland since 2009. The audience could not resist the cuteness of the child dancers.   UnBijou UnBijou is a Japan top trio dancer unit. Coming from different dance backgrounds, Yumi, Miwa, and Yume successfully created a powerful fusion of diverse dance styles, fascinating the audience.   THE FUTURE “The Future” won the Special Recognition Award in the18-years and below category at last year’s Aloha Dance Competition. This year, three girls and two boys made up the group. Their dance was full of youthful vitality.   Keauhou Keauhou is a young Hawaiian band whose debut album received nine awards at the 2017 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, Hawaii’s equivalent of the Grammy Awards. The young trio performed beautifully harmonized traditional Hawaiian music, charming the audience. The members are also researchers respectively in the fields of Hawaiian language, Education, and Ethnomusicology. Ryukyu Koten Afuso-ryu Ongaku Kenkyuu Hawaii Choichi Kai The last appearance was Ryukyu Koten Afuso-ryu Ongaku Kenkyuu Hawaii Choichi Kai. It is a music society, comprised of more than 4,000 members from 40 clubs of the Hawaii United Okinawa Association. The program ended with a climactic moment when the President of the Honolulu Festival Foundation, tourism ambassadors, cheerleaders, and volunteers all came up on stage and danced Kachāshī (Okinawan dance with hand motions).     The Friendship Party seeks to build international goodwill relationships among people in Japan, Hawaii and the Pacific regions. The Honolulu Festival will continue its efforts to prompt waves of cultural exchange beyond diverse ethnic and generational backgrounds. It also seeks to strengthen goodwill relationships not only between Japan and Hawaii, but also between Japan and Pacific Rim countries, playing a part in accomplishing world peace.


The 150th Anniversary of Japanese Immigration to Hawaii Special Events


The year 2018 marks the 150th anniversary of Japanese immigration to Hawaii. The Honolulu Festival hosted a few commemorative events. -The History of Japan and Hawaii- It is imperative to understand the historical background; how Japanese people related to Hawaii from the first Japanese immigration down to this day. Let’s take a look at a chronological table for a general overview. 1850年 The first sugar cane farm was established by a Caucasian investor. It rapidly grew to be a huge industry. 1860年 King Kamehameha IV proposed a friendship treaty between Japan and the Kingdom of Hawaii. The Japanese ambassadors, Jon Manjiro and Yukichi Fukuzawa, boarded the Kanrin-Maru to visit Honolulu. The King pleaded to send laborers from Japan. 1861年 Civil War broke out in the Mainland U.S. 1865年 Eugene Van Reed, a Japan based American businessman, was appointed Consul General of Hawaii in Japan by the Kingdom of Hawaii. Eugene negotiated with the Edo Shogunate about the recruiting of Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. 1868年 In May, the first year of the Meiji-era, the ship, “Scioto,” departed Yokohama port with approximately 150 Japanese people without permission from the new Meiji Government. The ship arrived at Honolulu port on June 20th. 1869年 About 40 Japanese immigrants were returned to Japan after the Japanese Government sent a special envoy to charge a contract violation. 1871年 Japan and Hawaii entered into a Treaty of Amity and Commerce, and subsequently improved the treatment of Japanese immigrants. 1876年 The Reciprocity Treaty eliminated all tariffs on sugarcane export. The kingdom of Hawaii became one of the leading sugarcane exporters. 1885年 The Convention of Japanese Immigration Treaty was signed, establishing immigration recognized by the Japanese government. 1894年 The 1885 Convention of Japanese Immigration Treaty agreement was terminated. The Japanese government turned immigration operations over to private companies. 1898年 The United States annexed the Kingdom of Hawaii, bringing the end of contract labor. Japanese plantation workers were freed from labor contracts. 1902年 Seventy percent of sugarcane plantation workers were Japanese immigrants. 1908年 The Gentlemen’s Agreement took effect. Private companies no longer managed immigration matters. The agreement restricted Japanese immigration to the United States. Only Japanese who had previously already emigrated to the US, and their immediate relatives, could now enter the country. 1920年 Japanese workers joined organized major labor strikes, demanding improved work conditions. The Japanese plantation work force plummeted to 19 percent. 1924年 The US Congress passed the Asian Exclusion Act, which barred East Asians from immigrating to the country. By that time, there were 21,000 Japanese immigrants living in Hawaii. 1941年 Pear Harbor was attacked by Japanese military forces, which led to the U.S. entry into WWII. About 400 Japanese Americans in Hawaii were relocated to internment camps. 1942年 The Nikkei (second generation of Japanese Americans) volunteered and became members of the 100th Infantry Battalion and after training, were sent to European front. 1944年 The 442nd Regimental Combat Team was formed and sent to the European front. 1945年 Germany surrendered. The Pacific War ended. 1952年 The passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act enabled the Issei (first generation of Japanese Americans) and other Asian American immigrants to become naturalized U.S. citizens. 1959年 Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States from a U.S. Territory. 1988年 The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 was signed into law, and a payment was authorized to each WWII internment camp survivor. 2016年 The 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor Attack. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Pearl Harbor. 2018年 The 150th anniversary of Japanese Immigration to Hawaii Initially, increasing demand for labor at sugarcane plantations made it difficult to find enough laborers within the Kingdom of Hawaii. The kingdom established contracts with many foreign governments in order to gain an immigrant work force. Approximately 220,000 Japanese people migrated to Hawaii until the Asian Exclusion Act took place in 1924. Many immigrants remained in Hawaii after their contracts expired, and blended into and became contributing members of the society. The Issei and the following generations’ efforts as Japanese-Americans, built a firm foundation in the society of Hawaii. The locals called the first Japanese immigrants of 1868, “Gannen Mono” (people of the first year in the Meiji period). During that time, Japan was going through the Meiji Restoration, a transfer of power from the Edo Shogunate to the Meiji Emperor. Permission of Japanese emigration was obtained from the Edo Shogunate. However, the new Meiji Government that came into power, nullified all the Edo Shogunate’s treaties. Van Reed, Consulate General of Hawaii, nevertheless, proceeded without the new government’s permission to send Japanese to Hawaii. The first immigration was carried out illegally without government permission. The “Gannen Mono” suffered grueling labor conditions on sugar plantations. Different from what they had previously heard back in Japan, it turned out to be a “slave-like” treatment by the plantation owners. The immigrants, however, endured the inconceivable hardships, settled in the land, and raised their families. As a result, the population of Japanese Americans in Hawaii increased dramatically. After the start of WWII, many Japanese Americans living in the United States were rounded up and removed to internment camps. Smaller numbers of Japanese Americans in Hawaii, compared to the U.S. mainland, were relocated to internment camps, partly due to the large Japanese population in Hawaii and the limited space in the internment camps. By that time, the Japanese immigrants and their descendants had become an important part of the society. We are what we are today because of the perseverance of the “Gannen Mono” and the subsequent Japanese immigrants. -Eishokukai Presents a Katari Butai (Narrative Theater) – Japanese Immigration to Hawaii and Invitation to Japanese mythology- In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Japanese Immigration and the “Gunnen Mono”, the Honolulu Festival hosted a Katari Butai to memorialize the origin of Japanese immigration. The Narrative Theater began as a project to narrate “Kojiki (the records of ancient matters)” and “Nihon-shoki (the oldest chronicles of Japan)” at shrines in Japan. The “Japan Mythology Telling Project” started in 2003 at the Ise Shrine and Izumo Taisha by Eishokukai, a national voluntary group consisting of shinto priests. The narrative theater happened once before in Hawaii, but this time, it took place at the150th Anniversary event. They were curious, “How the local audience would respond to all-English narratives?” Frank Delima, a comedian with a 44 year career in the entertainment industry, hosted the event with humorous talk, even inserting singing Japanese children’s songs. The Japanese mythology narrator was Cathy Foy, an actress who has performed on Broadway. Yasu Ishida recounted Japanese immigration in Hawaii. Joshua Kei provided sound effects with his keyboard during the narration. The program titles were “Japanese Immigration, A Bridge to the Rainbow,” and “Yamata No Orochi (eight-headed-creature).” The scripts were written by Sosuke Kinoshita and translated by Machiko Izumi, who also translated scripts for the Super Kabuki overseas performance. The first narrative, Japanese Immigration Story, “A Bridge to the Rainbow,” is about “Gunnen Mono,” the first 150 immigrants who traveled to Hawaii in 1868. Yasu Ishida recounted the first immigrants and how they lived in Hawaii. Story of A Japanese Immigrant “A Bridge to the Rainbow” In 1885, Masakichi Yasumura, a single man, came to Hawaii along with 944 other Japanese people, an immigration recognized by the Meiji Government. He was 20 years old from Yokohama, and determined to succeed in the land of Hawaii. He was fired recently from his job in Nipponbashi which he had held since 15 years old. Then, he learned about labor recruitment in Hawaii. Masakichi saw a rainbow in the beautiful sky and uttered, “What a big rainbow! This must be a welcoming sign from Hawaii!” Masakichi’s heart was filled with hope and excitement. Masakichi came to Hawaii as a laborer at a sugar plantation. What awaited Masakichi there, however, was a life of struggles and grueling labor. Feeling betrayed and disappointed, Masakichi cried out, “What did I get myself into!” Masakichi nevertheless, endured the hardship and determined to succeed, ”I will never give up. I will make it through!” Masakichi’s story gives us a vivid picture; what was like to live as a plantation worker. No matter how grim the situation seemed, Masakichi stayed on track, dreaming, getting married to Suzu, and the birth of his son. He enjoyed many joys and overcame various obstacles with determination, including losing his beloved son to illness. The grueling labor conditions at sugar plantations eased when a political transformation took place in Hawaii. The U.S. annexation of Hawaii brought better work conditions for laborers. Consequently, the nisei (second generation of Japanese Americans) and sansei (third generation of Japanese Americans) settled down in the land. The situation changed dramatically when WWII broke out. Hawaii was attacked by Imperial Japan, and the Japanese Americans in the U.S. faced the harsh reality of being ethnic Japanese. Various persecutions included incarceration of Japanese Americans in internment camps. Despite such dismal circumstances, the Japanese Americans volunteered in the Army and became members of the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligent Service. Their remarkable service was recognized with the highest achievements in U.S. military history. They were honored with many military successes and medals. It all started when the “Gannen Mono” left their native land and came to Hawaii as immigrants. The following niseis and sanseis, while being ethnic Japanese, proved their identity as Americans through their loyalty to the U.S. Unfolding the history of Japanese immigration makes one wonder: What is a home country, What is an ethnicity, What is the land of your youth, and What is peace? Yasu Ishida concluded, “We owe our existence to the earlier immigrants. What they have built, as a result of their tremendous hardships and sacrifice was, “A Bridge to the Rainbow.” Actress, Cathy Foy narrated the story, “Yamata no Orochi” from Japanese mythology. Japanese Myth “Yamata No Orochi” Similar to Japan, there are many gods in Hawaiian mythology: “Kū” is the god of war, “Pele” is the goddess of fire, “Lono” is the god of agriculture and peace, and “Kāne” is the god of procreation. A majority of Japanese myths are found in the “Kojiki”, “Nihon-shoki”, and “Fudoki”. Japanese gods were worshiped at shrines from ancient times. Hawaii has its own Izumo Taisha. Izumo Taisha in Japan worships Okuninushi no kami (god). Susanoo, an ancestor of Okuninushi, was kicked out of takamagahara (heavens) and descended in Izumo no kuni (county of Izumo). “Yamata no Orochi” is a story about Susanoo’s adventure. The story is told that Susanoo met an old couple and their daughter in the county of Izumo. Hearing their plight that the daughter was about be eaten by Yamata no Orochi, a huge snake with eight heads and eight tails, Susanoo agreed to fight the snake under one condition; if he won, the daughter would become his wife. The audience’s eyes were glued to Cathy’s realistic portrayal of Susanoo, being forced out of the heavens. Cathy, as Susanoo, cried out desperately to see Izanagi (god). When Susanoo transformed Princess Kushinada into a comb and stuck it to his head, Cathy used her own accessary to demonstrate. The audience was carried away in their imagination as each scene unfolded, as if listening to a radio drama. At the end of the story, Susanoo read a poem, “Yakumo Tatsu Izumo Yaegaki Tsumagomini Yaegaki Tsukuru Sono Yaegakio (“Actively upwelling clouds covered the eightfold fence in Izumo. It makes the eightfold fence to have my new wife stay in the house. Great eightfold fence.”) This poem is known to be Japan’s oldest poetry. The two narratives teach us respectively the importance of: celebrating the lives of brave Japanese immigrants who traveled to an unfamiliar land of Hawaii, and taking pride in the heritage of Japanese mythology and passing it on to the following generations. This time the audience was made up of largely elderly people. Next time, we would like to invite local children and give them a chance to hear the narratives. They will surely be impacted by the stories. -Sakurakomachi Wagakudan ~Hawaii Tour 2018~ ”Singing the Heart of Japanese”- Sakurakomachi Wagakudan is an all-female orchestra. It plays traditional Japanese music and folk songs, using instruments such as koto, Tsugaru-shamisen, shinobue and wadaiko. As an orchestra consisting entirely of women from Japan, they strive to create inspirational art and entertainment. The members are active internationally and perform all over the world every year.   ~Koto (Japanese harp)~ The prototype of koto was imported from mainland China during the Nara period. The instrument then evolved to play a wide variety of songs during the Edo period, leading to its popularity across Japan. Koto has 13 strings, and performers alter the pitch of a string by manipulating the string tension.   ~Tsugaru shamisen~ Tsugaru shamisen was established as a genre in the Tsugaru region of western Aomori. It is characterized by a unique, percussive playing style, and its repertoires of songs with faster beats and tempo. ~Wadaiko~ This instrument is widely played at festivals, kabuki theaters, and ceremonies in temples and shrines. The wooden body of a drum is covered with leather skin, and strokes on the skin produces powerful sounds.   ~Shinobue~ Shinobue is a general term for Japanese transverse flutes made out of bamboo with holes cut into them. The instrument has long been used for various genres of music, such as Japanese folk songs and nagauta ensembles. It is one of the most familiar musical instruments for Japanese people. The all-member orchestra opened the program with “Sakura, Sakura (cherry blossoms),” while the audience sang along with.   The following numbers were “Haruno Umi (spring oceans),” creating a new year like atmosphere, and “Tori No Yoni (like a bird)” with powerful koto playing.   Taiko and shinobue duet played celebratory “Kotobuki Jishimai (celebration lion dance),” followed by “Tsugaru Jongara Bushi (fork song)” by Tsugaru-shamisen.   While the audience joined in with the shouts “Hoy, hoy,” the Wagakudan members sang an Aomori bon dance song. Volunteers had a chance to try playing wadaiko.   Shouts from the audience conjointly with wadaiko, led up to its climax; singing “Ueo Muite Aruko (English title, Sukiyaki),” uniquely accompanied by the Japanese instruments to wrap up the program.   Japanese immigrants would sing songs and play music to ease their pain and gain momentary relief while working in harsh environments. People were reminiscent of their homeland, friends, and families, and gained strength to live on while playing and singing songs. We realized how precious Japanese musical instruments were to Japanese plantation workers. -Hawaii Nikkei Legacy Exhibit- Pictures were on display at the Hawaii Convention Center, covering the history and culture of Japanese Americans in Hawaii. The exhibit was a part of the Educational Program in support of the sub-theme “Harmony over the Ocean, Journey to Peace.” Many people stopped by at the exhibit and were looking at each panel very carefully, one by one.   There was a message written on the first exhibit, which read, “The exhibit covers from 1868 when the first Japanese immigrants arrived in Hawaii, the lives of the Japanese immigrants and their descendants, till today. The historical exhibit seeks for visitors to understand how culture and values were transferred beyond time, while mingling with various cultural influences in Hawaii There was a message written on the first exhibit, which read, “The exhibit covers from 1868 when the first Japanese immigrants arrived in Hawaii, the lives of the Japanese immigrants and their descendants, till today. The historical exhibit seeks for visitors to understand how culture and values were transferred beyond time, while mingling with various cultural influences in Hawaii. The descendants of Japanese immigrants made the exhibit possible. We hope the relationship between Hawaii and Japan continue to thrive, furthermore, deepening relationships and mutual understanding between America and Japan. The photo exhibit was shown in several locations in Japan in 2017 with warm responses from the Japanese public. The narrative text and captions are in Japanese and English. In 2018, the exhibit is planned to be shown around the State of Hawaii jointly by the Nisei Veterans Legacy and the Japan Consulate of Honolulu as part of the 150th anniversary celebration of the initial Japanese immigration to Hawaii. The Honolulu Festival will be its first venue in Hawaii. The exhibit begins with the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in the late1800s, then continues to show how the Japanese and the Hawaiian cultures were woven together and constructed a modern society. There is a list of prefectures, with short descriptions, of the birthplaces of prominent Japanese Americans in Hawaii and their ancestors. The exhibit seeks to display the legacy of Japanese Americans in Hawaii and furthermore, promote friendly relationship between Japan and America by deepening the understanding of their differing cultures and traditions. Guided-tours were offered on the 10th and 11th, both in Japanese and English at different time schedules. Mr. Masakazu Asanuma, a resident of Hawaii for 27 years, has been engaging in the Japan-Hawaii cross-cultural activities. He shared many episodes relating to Japanese immigration. The below are some tidbits: The first group of Japanese immigrants from Yokahama were rather inexperienced in agriculture. The ship with the first immigrants on board sailed the ocean for one month until its disembarkation at Honolulu port, compared to seven days today. Under the contracts legally recognized by the Japanese government, the four largest immigration groups were from Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Kumamoto, and Fukuoka. Seventy-four percent of all immigrants were from Hiroshima and Yamaguchi. Reasons for large immigration numbers from Hiroshima and Yamaguchi involve: Yamaguchi was a home prefecture of Foreign Minister Kaoru Inoue, who actively recruited applicants, and those unable to pay taxes, due to a land tax reform, were offered the option to work away in Hawaii. On the contrary, the prefectures with the least numbers of immigrants were Nara and Kyoto. The immigrants, who came as single men, married “picture brides.” Picture brides were young Japanese women who came to Hawaii to marry men they only knew in photos. An old Japanese school building still exists on Campbell Avenue in Kapahulu. At the time of the Pearl Harbor Attack, the number of Japanese American in Hawaii was approximately 160,000, about 40 percent of the population. The 100th infantry battalion, a Japanese American infantry unit, was composed of former members of the National Guard. The 442nd infantry regiment was an all-volunteer force. The U.S. Army called for 1,500 volunteers from Hawaii and an overwhelming 10,000 men (more than 6 times) volunteered. The Nikkei soldiers’ bravery earned more than 9,400 Purple Hearts, an award given to those wounded or killed while serving. The 100th Battalion’s high casualty rate earned the most Purple Hearts in the U.S. military. Here are the most impactful photos in the exhibit: “On (debt of gratitude)”, “Haji (shame)”, “Gambari (tenacity)”, “Gaman (endurance)”, “Gisei (sacrifice)”, “Giri (obligation)”, “Meiyo (honor)”, “Sekinin (responsibility)”, “Houkou (service)”, “Kansha (gratitude)”, “Hokori (pride)”, and “Chugi (loyalty)” These words particularly resonate with Japanese people’s conscience as uniquely Japanese virtues. Nisei soldiers fought the war with values planted in their hearts by the issei generation. Those values, with the passing of time, were gradually interwoven with other ethnic values in Hawaii, and consequently formed a hybrid culture in Hawaii. Although the immigrants’ lives were full of adversity and further exacerbated by the war, the issei and nisei people, through the tumultuous time, continued to embrace the concept, “Okage Sama De, meaning, “I am what I am because of you.” The issei immigrants and the U.S.-born nisei, were guided by many Japanese and non-Japanese people, groups, and leaders. They concluded, “We are grateful for being a member of the society in Hawaii. We are what we are because of you.” We owe to the issei and the nisei; today we thrive in Hawaii because of their influence in Hawaii throughout generations. The 150th Anniversary events presented visitors the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the history of immigration. The Japanese Americans will continue to be an essential part of the society in Hawaii. Likewise, the Honolulu Festival seeks to play its role to advocate world peace, with the mission of building love and trust among nations, by introducing Japanese virtues and values throughout the world.


Grand Parade 2018


The Grand Parade, one of the Honolulu Festival’s main events, took place in the evening of the final day to conclude the three day festivities. The parade features a wide variety of traditional dance and performances, an opportune moment for people to see the diverse cultural expressions by the participating teams from Hawaii, Japan, and the Pacific Rim countries. Kalakaua Avenue, Waikiki’s main street, became the center stage for this spectacular show. Crowds gathered on Kalakaua Avenue, waiting for the parade to start. Participating teams began their performances during the 0.8 mile parade, starting Saratoga Road, located at the west end of Waikiki, and ending at the Waikiki Zoo in the east end. It was the big finale moment for the participating teams that had already been performing on the stages and booths during this year’s festival. -Opening Performance- At four p.m., different groups began their performances in front of four MC booths on Kalakaua Avenue. Starting Point    In front ot Waikiki Shopping Plaza    In front of Moana surfrider Westin Resort    In front of Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach     When the performances began at four locations on Kalakaua Avenue, applause and cheering broke out among the highly anticipating spectators on both sides of the street. -Parade Started- This year, 66 groups participated in the Honolulu Festival. Performing live in the parade was the highlight for the groups that have been performing on stages and booths during the three day festival.                                                                   Well-rehearsed teamwork effort was clearly demonstrated in the beautifully in sync performances. When the sun set and darkness filled the air, the festival climaxed with the appearance of Honolulu Daijayama. It was met with spectators’ applause and cheers. A wide variety of traditions and cultural expressions are respected in the land of Hawaii, promoting peace to permeate our society today. “Searching for peaceful living through cultural exchanges among different ethnic groups” is our hope that the wave of exchanges among various ethnic groups and generations will continue in Japan, Hawaii, and the Pacific Rim countries and furthermore, that the friendly relationships among nations will contribute to world peace.


Nagaoka Fireworks


Capping off the Honolulu Festival, the Nagaoka Fireworks lit up the sky in Waikiki. It was the highly anticipated event. Many locals call it, “undoubtedly the best fireworks in Hawaii.” In Japan, Nagaoka Fireworks is recognized as one of the ”Japan’s Three Great Fireworks” among many fireworks shows. The Japanese fireworks shells were shot off of Waikiki Beach. -Nagaoka Fireworks Completes the Event- When the Grand Parade ended, people headed down towards Waikiki Beach. They walked hurriedly in order to save good spots to view the fireworks.   It was unnecessary to worry. Since the fireworks were shot from off shore of Waikiki Beach, there were magnificent views from anywhere on the beach. Unlike Japanese fireworks shows, where crowds pack the place, Nagaoka Fireworks in Hawaii is known to be more accessible without extreme congestion. There was one hour between the ending of the parade and the beginning of the Fireworks. People sat on the beach and with great enthusiasm waited for the spectacular show to begin.   -How Did The Nagaoka Fireworks Begin in Hawaii?- This was the 7th annual Nagaoka Fireworks show in Hawaii. How and when did this event originate? There is a compelling history between Hawaii and Nagaoka that set the stage for Nagaoka Fireworks in Hawaii. Nagaoka Fireworks have been popular among Japanese people since the Meiji-era. It was interrupted for several years from 1938 due to the WWII. On August 1, 1945, Nagaoka suffered severe damage in an unexpected air-raid; the town was burned down beyond recognition and the lives of many people were lost. After the war ended, war memorial festivals were held for several years to encourage the people of Nagaoka in their efforts to recover. The festivities included the restarting of Nagaoka Fireworks, which became an annual memorial event to call for restoration and peace. In 2007, the Nagaoka mayor explained, at the mayoral exchange conference in Honolulu, the relationship between Honolulu and Nagaoka during the Pacific War. The Pearl Harbor attack, which led to the United States’ entry into the Pacific War, was directed by Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto from Nagaoka. At the surprise attack, many precious lives were lost. Soon Japan military forces had to fight the all-out and prolonged war. Finally, in the evening of August 1, 1945, at the end of the war.Nagaoka City was air-raided by the U.S. Army Air Forces. Honolulu suffered severe damage in the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor by the Imperial Japanese Navy. Nagaoka, on the other hand, the birthplace of Isoroku Yamamoto who directed the Pearl Harbor attack, was destroyed in the bombing by the American forces. Since then, the two former enemy cities worked towards reconciliation, seeking to build a friendly and peaceful Japan-U.S. relationship. Eventually in 2012, Nagaoka and Hawaii became sister cities. Nagaoka supports the Honolulu Festival by displaying fireworks on the final evening. While fireworks shows are generally held at festive occasions in America, the Nagaoka Fireworks at the Honolulu Festival expresses the determination of the cities of Nagaoka and Honolulu to pursue peace. -The Seventh Annual Nagaoka Fireworks Hopes for Peace- At 8:30p.m., a loud sound and flashing light accompanied the bright white fireworks. The first fireworks expressed a “prayer for peace.” The Nagaoka Fireworks began! Commemoration and Prayer for Peace The first fireworks were followed by the three bright white fireworks in the night sky. They were dedicated to commemorate the Japanese and American war victims, to strengthen the bonds between the two countries, and to pursue long-lasting world peace.   Hawaii Aloha Tropical motifs, Hawaiian palm trees, the ocean, and the sun, were displayed in these fireworks.   Phoenix The fireworks “Phoenix”, a symbol of war-torn Nagaoka’s recovery, were launched as prayers for the recovery efforts of those who suffered in the great earthquake in Japan. This fireworks was unique because it spread widely in the sky rather than soaring high, creating the serene and mysterious ambiance. In the bright sparks, appeared the glittering shape of “Phoenix”.   Bonds of Friendship Ohana The hope for the growing friendship between Hawaii and Nagaoka was incorporated in the fireworks. Near the end, the golden fireworks filled the night sky with the flashing image of King Kamehameha the Great.   Ten-Chi-Jin The finale was the launch of “Ten-Chi-Jin”. The gorgeously illuminating fireworks were shot up, wishing for the prosperity and happiness for the future young generations. The spectators broke out in cheers at the amazing display.   During the thirteen minutes of the Nagaoka fireworks show, 2,200 shells were shot and the splendid display brightened the Waikiki night sky, filling the spectators’ hearts with delight. Each fireworks was displayed with deep meaning – and as people gazed upon them, it engraved the message of hope for peace in their hearts. We hope to expand the exchange programs for diverse ethnic groups and generations, to build up friendly relationships among Japan, Hawaii, and the countries from the Pacific Rim, and furthermore to contribute to world peace. We would like to thank the cities of Nagaoka and Honolulu and our sponsors, who gave the Nagaoka Fireworks tremendous support and cooperation. We also would like to thank everyone who spent many hours in planning and carrying out the event.