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    June 2019
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Sayonara & Mahalo, ‘Nippon Maru’

The Big Island of Hawai‘i Gannenmono Committee bid aloha to the Japanese training sailing ship Nippon Maru this morning, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, at Hilo Harbor.

“Nippon Maru” in Hilo Bay.

On Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, the cadets conducted a beach cleanup and also helped tend to some damaged gravestones at Alae Cemetery.

Cadets clean a grave at Alae Cemetery.

The captain and chief officers of the Japanese training vessel Nippon Maru visited the mayor’s office on Monday, Jan. 8.

(L–R) “Nippon Maru” First Officer Atsushi Osaka, Chief Engineer Naoaki Adachi and Captain Shinjiro Abe. Courtesy photo.

Big Island residents lined the shores of Coconut Island and Hilo Bay on Tuesday, Jan. 9, to catch a glimpse of the four-masted sailing ship leaving the island.

The Nippon Maru was built by Sumitomo Heavy Industries in Uraga, Kanagawa, and was launched on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 1984, with its commissioning occurring on Sunday, Sept. 16, 1984.

Cadets man the masts of the “Nippon Maru.”

The last time the ship visited Hilo was in 2005.

Japan Cadets Clean Hilo Beach and Damaged Graves

On Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, members of the Japanese Community Association and other Japanese organizations welcomed the return of the Japanese training sailing ship, Nippon Maru, to the Big Island of Hawai‘i.

“Nippon Maru” at Hilo Harbor.

The cadets on the ship spent Sunday, Jan. 7, conducting a beach cleanup at Hilo Bay.

Cadets from “Nippon Maru” clean Hilo Bayfront.

The cleanup was arranged by the Big Island of Hawai‘i Gannenmono Committee, which is celebrating the 150th anniversary of Japanese immigrants in Hawai‘i throughout the year of 2018.

Cadet from “Nippon Maru” clean Hilo Bayfront.

A few of the cadets also spent some time cleaning up some graves that were recently damaged at Alae Cemetery.

Cadets from “Nippon Maru” assist with a grave cleaning.

The damaged plots are located in “Section B” near the front of the cemetery.

Alae Cemetery is located at 1033 Hawai‘i Belt Road.

Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation staff are attempting to contact the families of the damaged/disturbed plots to notify them of the incident.

For more information, contact the county Department of Parks and Recreation at (808) 961-8311.

The department is asking families with plots in the area of the incident to visit the cemetery and contact them if they notice damage to their plot.


‘Nippon Maru’ Returns to Hilo

The Big Island of Hawai‘i Gannenmono Committee celebrated the 150th anniversary of Japanese immigrants in Hawai‘i with the return of the Japanese training sailing ship, Nippon Maru in Hilo on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018.

Nippon Maru at Hilo Harbor.

The port of call marks the beginning of year-long events commemorating 150 years of Japanese immigrants to the State of Hawai‘i.

Nippon Maru.

The ship is operated by the National Institute for Sea Training out of Tokyo.

Hālau Hula ‘O Napunaheleonapua.

Hālau Hula ‘O Napunaheleonapua greeted the cadets with hula.

Hālau Hula ‘O Napunaheleonapua.

Rose Bautista from Hawai‘i County Mayor Kim’s office presented the crew with a commemoration that said:

County of Hawai‘i awards this Certificate of Commemoration to welcome the visit of the Nippon Maru to the Port of Hilo.  We are delighted that the masters, cadets, and crew of this magnificent four-masted training ship, nicknamed the “Swan of the Pacific Ocean,”  have honored us with your presence. We wish you a safe and enjoyable voyage.

Awarded this 6th of January, 2018.

Harry Kim, Mayor County of Hawai‘i.

Rose Bautista gives the mayor’s commendation to the captain of the ship.

The Gannenmono, or “first year men,” arrived in Hawai‘i from Yokohama in 1868.

They numbered approximately 150 people from Japan of diverse backgrounds such as urban dwellers, artists, cooks and displaced samurai.

These immigrants were the first of what would become wave after wave of Issei, the first generation. Working mainly as laborers or in the sugar cane fields, by 1924, so many Japanese had come to the islands that they constituted over 40% of the population.

Honorary Consul General of Japan Hilo Arthur K. Taniguchi presents a floral arrangement to the ships captain.

The crew of the ship will be doing a beach cleanup tomorrow along Hilo Bay beginning at 10 a.m. and the public is welcome to come out and assist.

Cadets return to the ship.

The ship will remain in Hilo until Tuesday, Jan. 9, when it will sail out of the Bay with the cadets on board manning the ships masts. The last time the ship was in Hilo was in 2005.

Bunka No Hi: Japanese Culture Day in Hawaiʻi

The Japanese Community Association of Hawaiʻi hosted Bunka No Hi on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, at the Sangha Hall in Hilo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Japanese Cultural Day

Bunka No Hi is a national holiday held annually in Japan on Nov. 3 for the purpose of promoting culture, the arts and academic endeavor. Festivities typically include art exhibitions, parades and award ceremonies for distinguished artists and scholars.

The theme at this years culture day was Okage Same De (I am what I am, because of you).

The day began with a short Omikoshi Parade from Aupuni Center to Sangha Hall which was lead by the Grand Marshall of the Parade former Governor George Ariyoshi.

Shichi-Go-San Kimono dressing and picture taking was done by the association as a fundraiser.

Shichi-Go-San is a traditional rite of passage and festival day in Japan for 3- and 7-year-old girls and 3 and 5-year-old boys, held annually on Nov. 15 to celebrate the growth and well-being of young children.

Since Bunka No Hi is not a national holiday, it is generally observed on the nearest weekend. Nov. 18, 2017. Big Island Now photo.

There were many demos and displays on hand for folks to immerse themselves in the culture.

Bonzai at Bunka No Hi, Nov. 18, 2017. Big Island Now photo. 

The event included a bonsai demonstration by Moku Honua Bonsai Kai, a tea ceremony demo by Urasenke Hilo Shibu and ikebana displays.

Shuji/calligraphers wrote out phrases or messages. The event also included demonstrations on the Art of Soroban (abacus) and demonstrations on the Art of Eating Ramen Japanese Style and How to Cut & Present Sashimi.

Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth won the ramen eating contest, finishing a bowl of ramen in just one minute 28 seconds.

The 2017 Japanese Cultural Treasures were:

  • Takayoshi Kanda as the “Keeper of the Waiakea Tsunami Clock”
  • Akiko Masuda for her work on Mochitsuki and the  Mochitsuki Festival
  • Rondald Takeya for his work in Judo and working with students to instill and motivate each student to put one’s best effort into their judo

The Japanese Community Association is located at 714 Kanoelehua Ave., Ste. 202, in Hilo.

For more information, call (808) 969-6437 or email [email protected].