Jodie Chiemi Ching
It’s only been a few months since The Hawai‘i Herald’s 6th annual Kaua‘i special edition — our last issue of 2019. So, why do another so soon? Well, why not? — Our schedule is always fluid depending on what is going on throughout the year. And, right now, we could really use stories from the Garden Island — stories of resilience, healing, growth and community.
“Kaua‘i has been through storms before — they know how to survive, and they are very resilient. And, that is where my family is from, so I have seen it first hand”said Hawaii Foodbank president and CEO Ron Mizutani in a 2018 interview.
Just two years ago, Kaua‘i was hit by a huge storm on April 14. In 2018, Kaua‘i-grown Mizutani told the Herald that it was like Hurricane ‘Iniki all over again. The 2018 flood devastated the Kaua‘i’s North Shore and triggered at least five landslides that shut down Kühio Highway, the island’s main thoroughfare. Call it divine timing, Mizutani started his role as president days after the disaster and went right to work to fill the needs of the people of his island home.
The coronavirus is a storm for all of us, and Kaua‘i sons like Mayor Derek Kawakami and Sen. Ron Kouchi have been examples of leaders who have experience rebuilding and recovering from hits to Kaua‘i’s communities and economy.
In our seventh annual Kaua‘i issue, each article has something to warm our hearts and hopefully give us a sense of security. And we are happy to say that this issue’s stories also span generations.
Our lead feature starts with a historical story about Läwa‘i International Center’s 88 Buddhist shrines and the Nonaka family. Issei Takano Nonaka, known to many as Grandma Nonaka, taught her children and grandchildren about their spiritual roots, hard work and how to live off the land. Today, all who frequent the Läwa‘i International Center know of Grandma Nonaka’s legacy. Contributing writer and Herald columnist Carolyn Morinishi also shares memories from Takano’s grandchildren and others who sought healing from Läwa‘i.
This issue’s second feature is about 25-year-old yonsei Trysen “TK” Kaneshige who expresses positive messages on massive murals across the state. After a 2013 concussion, Kaneshige could no longer play soccer and found his artistic gifts through artistic expression. Today, that light shines big, far beyond the shores of Kaua‘i. Whether it’s music and video-editing, photography or graphic design, Kaneshige’s style has been described as “an ambitious and energetic force that is versatile in everything creative.” Kaneshige’s mentor, Ken Nishimura, has watched his protégé grow over the years. He tells the Herald that, now, he just “stands in the shadows” and comes out only to give him occasional encouragement and pieces of wisdom he has picked up from his own experiences.
And lastly, veteran political writer Richard Borecca interviews Kaua‘i boy and Hawai‘i State Senate President Ron Kouchi. With leadership experience during two devastating hurricanes on Kaua‘i, working to rebuild an economy is familiar territory to Kouchi. He brings to light his hope and optimism in finding new opportunities to help Hawai‘i’s economic recovery.
A big heartfelt “Mahalo” goes out to Kaua‘i County and all the contributing writers and advertisers whose support made this issue possible.
Trysen “TK” Kaneshige
Kauai Island Finance, Inc.
Kaua‘i Soto Zen Temple
Mayor Derek Kawakami
State Sen. Ron Kouchi
Läwa‘i International Center
State Rep. Dee Morikawa
Carolyn and Ron Morinishi
State Rep. Nadine Nakamura
Ken “East” Nishimura
Tommy Oi Land Surveyor, LLC