Community Focus – Kuakini Honors Early Japanese Immigrant Residents of Kuakini Home

Community Focus – Kuakini Honors Early Japanese Immigrant Residents of Kuakini Home

Kuakini Auxiliary members, Kuakini Health System administration team and Tendai Mission representatives in front of the Kuakini Columbarium at Honolulu Memorial Park Cemetery following the May 30 memorial service. Bishop Ryokan Ara (in brown minister’s robe) of Tendai Mission of Hawaii and Gary Kajiwara (on Ara’s left), president/CEO of Kuakini, anchor the photo. (Photo courtesy Kuakini Health System)

The Kuakini Auxiliary honored the memory of 141 former Issei residents of Kuakini Home on May 30 at the Kuakini Columbarium at Honolulu Memorial Park Cemetery in Nu‘uanu. The memorial service was conducted by Bishop Ryokan Ara of Tendai Mission of Hawaii, with assistance from the Rev. Ryodo Ishida. In attendance were members of Kuakini Auxiliary, Kuakini Health System administration and Kuakini employees.

The service is held annually to remember the 141 former Kuakini Home residents who labored on the sugar plantations of Hawai‘i in the late 1800s. Most of them did not have family members in Hawai‘i to care for them after they retired, so they lived out their lives in Kuakini Home, then known as the Japanese Home of Hawaii. Kuakini Home, which was originally located behind the hospital, opened in 1932 to provide shelter for the retired Japanese immigrants. It became the foundation for Kuakini Home, which is today a multiethnic residential care home located on the campus of Kuakini Health System.

The Kuakini Auxiliary oversees the columbarium and coordinates the annual remembrance ceremony with Tendai Mission. The columbarium plot was donated to Kuakini in 1960 by Monte Richards Sr. of Honolulu Memorial Park to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Kanyaku Imin (contract immigrants) in 1885. Sam Sasano of Stonecraft Memorial subsequently donated the columbarium. Prior to their donations, the residents’ urns were kept in the Kuakini Home chapel. The last resident was inurned in the columbarium on May 4, 1990.

The Kuakini Auxiliary supports Kuakini Health System through fundraising events and various supplementary duties that help patients, their families and the hospital staff.

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