Melissa Tanji
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

After more than 30 years of silence, a temple bell cast in Japan in the 1920s sounded once again last month in Upcountry Maui. It was rung in memory of five young men who died tragically nearly a century ago while on a Good Friday weekend hike to the summit of Haleakalä with friends.

As the bell sounded at the special remembrance ceremony on March 4 at the Makawao Hongwanji Mission, the names of the five who died were read out loud: Yoichi Arai, Toshio Higuchi, Kazuyuki Kawauye, Tokuichi Matsumoto and Yoriyoshi Tagawa.

Arai, age 21, was the oldest of the five and a husband and father. Tagawa, 18, worked at the Haiku Fruit and Packing Company. Higuchi and Matsumoto, both 17, were sophomores at the old Maui High School campus in Hämäkuapoko, where Kawauye, the youngest in the group at age 16, was a freshman. All five were the sons of immigrants from the plantation community of Hämäkuapoko in East Maui. They died in the opening days of April 1923.

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