“Two Cultures, One People”

Michael Chun, Ph.D.
Published with Permission

Aloha mai käkou!

Being a part of today’s symposium commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Gannenmono’s arrival in Hawai‘i is both a great honor and deeply humbling. Mahalo nui loa.

With the arrival of the Gannenmono in Hawai‘i in 1868, a new journey was launched — a journey that would connect two vastly different cultures and create a common kinship built on mutual respect and appreciation for the values, traditions and languages of each. As island nations, Hawai‘i and Japan shared similar views of the world. The Gannenmono reflected these views and became an instrumental thread that helped weave the social fabric of contemporary Hawai‘i.

The creation of this kinship is told by many different stories passed on by generations of both Japanese and Hawaiian — stories of adventure and courage; hardship and resilience; joy and sadness. All tell of the close cultural connections between these island people, of the experiences that helped make them who they are and of the relationships that enriched their lives.

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