A Missed Opportunity Inspires A Commitment to Help Others Touch Their Ancestral Homeland

Ken Saiki
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

I called my daughter at work and told her the good news: My father had heard that we were headed to Japan on a two-week trip and offered to take us to his furusato. Dad was born in Shiya Village in the former Takata-gun district in rural Hiroshima, where he had spent his childhood days. At the age of 15, he was sent to Hawai‘i for a chance at a better life.

For our Japan trip, Lauri and I had planned to start in Okinawa, then fly to Kagoshima and, without a fixed itinerary, make use of JR Railpasses to get to our final destination, Tökyö. A detour to Takata-gun would truly be a highlight. Grateful for my dad’s offer, I agreed to pick up a JR Railpass for him to use while he traveled partway with us.

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