Remembering Katsu Goto – Historic Plantation Hero to be Honored Saturday, October 23 in Honokaa, Hilo

The Katsu Goto Memorial Service Committee will be hosting two events on the Big Island commemorating the life of Katsu Goto, a “first boat” Japanese plantation worker-turned successful businessman, tragically killed in Honokaa, in the late 19th Century.

Katsu Goto Memorial Service
Saturday, October 23, 2010, 11:00 a.m.
Honokaa Hongwanji Mission, 45-5016 Plumeria Street, Honokaa

“A Walk with Katsu Goto”
Saturday, October 23, 2010, 3:30 p.m.
Hilo Public Library, 300 Waianuenue Avenue, Hilo, Hawaii

The Memorial Service will mark the 125th anniversary of the arrival of Katsu Goto to Hawaii on February. 8, 1885, aboard the “City of Tokio,” the first of 26 shiploads of “Kanyaku Imin,” government contract laborers. Goto was one of tens of thousands of men and women who left behind family, friends and their homeland for these islands in the middle of the Pacific to seek their fortunes.  Assigned to work on Ookala Plantation along the Hamakua Coast, Goto fulfilled his 3-year contract and opened a successful general store in Honokaa town.

Because of his leadership skills, character, and his knowledge of English, Goto became a liaison between the Japanese laborers and plantation management, facilitating mediation, serving as an interpreter and advocating for improved working conditions. Goto’s Japanese-Hawaii immigrant experience is one of hardship, success, injustice, and ultimate tragedy, and is a cultural legacy for all of us.

Attending the Memorial Service will be descendents of the late Katsu Goto from Hiroshima Prefecture in Japan, Mr. Kiichi Kaya and Mrs. Toyoko Saeki and their spouses.

“A Walk with Katsu Goto” will be a presentation and reading by Patsy Iwasaki, author of the recently released graphic novel, “Hamakua Hero: A True Plantation Story.”  Both Mr. Kiichi Kaya and Mrs. Toyoko Saeki will be present and part of the presentation at the Hilo Public Library.

The public is welcome to attend the Katsu Goto Memorial Service and “A Walk with Katsu Goto” presentation and reading.  There is no charge.

The Katsu Goto Memorial Service Committee is comprised of Hawaii State Senator Dwight Takamine, Hawaii State Representative Mark Nakashima, Miles Okamura of the Peace Committee and Honokaa Hongwanji, Patsy Iwasaki of the University of Hawaii, Hilo Campus and author of the graphic novel on Katsu Goto, “Hamakua Hero: A True Plantation Story” and Wayne Miyao of the Hiroshima-Hawaii Sister State Committee.  For more information, contact Patsy Iwasaki (808) 640-0683,

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