Ties That Bind – Why Kenjinkai?

Ties That Bind – Why Kenjinkai?

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Photo of Arnold Hiura (courtesy of Gareth Makino)

Because Homeland Matters, Contends Hawaii Japanese Center Head

Arnold T. Hiura
Published with Permission

Editor’s note: The following is the text of a talk Hawaii Japanese Center executive director Arnold Hiura delivered at the East Hawaii Hiroshima Kenjinkai’s shinnen enkai on Feb. 25 at Hilo’s Sangha Hall. We thank Arnold for sharing this text with our readers.

At the Hawaii Japanese Center, one of our main objectives is to preserve the lessons of the past for future generations.

Visitors to the center are often surprised to see how much stuff we have in the center’s collection — everything from old toys, tools and furniture, to kimonos, books and works of art.

The Hawaii Japanese Center also has a series of display cases that are dedicated to individual kenjinkai groups, including one for the East Hawaii Hiroshima Kenjinkai.

As this year marks the 50th anniversary of this organization, the question in the back of many of our minds is whether the kenjinkai is destined to become a mere relic in a glass display case, or if it will continue to function as a living entity with meaning for the generations to come.

In order to answer that, I believe we must ask an even more basic question, “Why kenjinkai?” Well, all of us in this room are connected to each another by the fact that we all have some sort of familial tie to Hiroshima. We trace those ties through our Issei forbears, who made the perilous journey from Hiroshima to Hilo a century or so ago.

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