Janet Sato
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

Our contributions as Sansei — local kids on Maui from humble beginnings, carving our way through the ’60s and beyond — were cultivated through expectations of effort, perseverance and the underlying requisite of honor. The shaping of our character, integrity and personal work ethic was the essential and primary duty of the Nisei, our parents, as it was the legacy of their parents, the Issei, who, as migrant laborers, first planted the seeds that clearly defined how we have lived our lives as Japanese Americans.

With hard work comes the notion of service, or the necessity to contribute and to do so with our best efforts. This became the basis for our existence early in our childhood and remains with us in our adulthood. It began as an infinite list of obligatory duties, daunting and perplexing to a curious and impatient child. My mom’s favorite adage, “Anything worth doing is worth doing right,” always meant that my substandard first-attempts needed to be redone, whether this applied to completing simple household chores, writing dreaded book reports or rolling my first maki sushi. The expectation was reinforced at school, in Sunday School, by my sewing teacher and 4-H leader, and by most of my relatives and neighborhood adults.

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