Honolulu Hiroshima Kenjin Kai Presents Face Masks to Hiroshima Prefectural and City Governments

Wayne Miyao
President of HHKK
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

The Honolulu Hiroshima Kenjin Kai created face masks featuring their club’s logo for members, friends and supporters in an effort to keep them safe and healthy. As the HHKK believed that face masks might be accepted as omiyage, the organization’s officers and directors, which commemorated the 65th anniversary of its establishment in 2020, sent their face masks to the people of Hiroshima Prefecture.

In late February, 200 HHKK face masks were sent to Hiroshima Gov. Hidehiko Yuzaki, the prefectural assembly and other leaders and staff. Similarly, another 200 face masks were mailed to Hiroshima City Mayor Kazumi Matsui, the Hiroshima City Council, other city leaders and staff and city-related organizations including the Hiroshima Memorial Peace Museum and even Hiroshima’s professional baseball team, the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.   

Fifty HHKK face masks were also distributed to the Tökyö Hiroshima-Ken People’s Organization, which is their sister kenjin kai.

Tökyö Hiroshima-Ken People’s Association. From left: Takaya Kanamori, secretary general and Tomoko Uehara, secretarial staff. (Photos courtesy of Honolulu Hiroshima Kenjin Kai)
Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki.

The response from these Hiroshima government units as well as our sister kenjin kai has been overwhelmingly positive. Gov. Yuzaki said, “I was deeply touched by all of your kindhearted thoughtfulness, and it once again reminded me of the deep friendships that we have fostered.”

Mayor Matsui remarked, “The mask is really good, because it is light and comfortable to wear. The color black has a strong impact and looks cool.” Other recipients’ comments were: “I like the replica of the Miyajima Island torii!” and “The mask will inspire me to remember and think of the people in Hawai’i.”

Hiroshima-City Mayor Kazumi Matsui.

HHKK face masks were sent to the Hiroshima Prefectural Government and Hiroshima City Government as a token of our appreciation for the many programs and activities we have conducted with them over the years. Additionally, our face masks will offer protection and safety to them. Finally, it is our hope that our HHKK face masks will serve as a reminder of their friends in Honolulu and the State of Hawai’i.

Regarding the face masks sent to the Tökyö Hiroshima-Ken People’s Organization, we established this sister kenjin kai relationship in January of 2020. Unfortunately, with the threat of the coronavirus pandemic starting in March 2020, we could not implement several programs which we had wanted to initiate in that and this year. Our gift of HHKK face masks will help us to re-establish our budding relationship with this organization.

The HHKK face masks were produced by Hilo Hattie. They are anti-bacterial fashion masks made of heavy polyester (or spandex) and machine-washable for re-use. The HHKK face masks are black in color and contain an imprint of the HHKK logo.

We hope our HHKK face masks will be accepted and used by our friends in Hiroshima and Tokyo. We encourage other organizations to share our spirit of Aloha with their counterparts and friends in Japan.

The face masks will be offered for sale soon.  Further information on price, distribution and availability is forthcoming.

The Honolulu Hiroshima Kenjin Kai was established in 1955 by first- and second-generation immigrants from Hiroshima Prefecture. Its original and continuing purpose is to promote and perpetuate the unique customs and traditions of Hiroshima. HHKK has an active membership of more than 500 families and implements annual programs/causes such as an okonomiyaki sale, a New Year’s/general-membership meeting and banquet, a summer family picnic, the Hiroshima Commemoration and Peace Service (on Aug. 6), an international youth exchange program and cleanings of the Ehime Maru Memorial in Kaka‘ako and the Hiroshima torii gate in Mö‘ili‘ili.

The Tökyö Hiroshima-Ken People’s Association, founded in 1947, is believed to be the largest Hiroshima-focused organization outside of Hiroshima Prefecture with more than 1,300 business members. After two years of meetings, a sister-kenjin-kai relationship was established between the THKPA and the HHKK on Jan. 22, 2020.


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