HONORARY CONSUL OF JAPAN IN HILO CONFERRED
On Wednesday, Sept. 28, Arthur Katsumi Taniguchi, Honorary Consul of Japan in Hilo, was conferred the 2022 Spring Imperial Decoration, Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon at the Consul General’s Office Residence.
For 11 years, in his role as the Honorary Consul of Japan in Hilo, Taniguchi has bridged together and supported the activities of the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu with Hawai‘i island. He also actively participated with the Japanese Community Association of Hawaii and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hawaii for over 20 years, serving as president of both organizations.
Consul General Yutaka Aoki delivered a congratulatory message at the ceremony, expressing gratitude for Honorary Consul Taniguchi’s long-standing contribution to the promotion of friendship between Japan and Hawai‘i, followed by the conferment ceremony. Taniguchi delivered his recipient’s speech, stating he enjoyed working on promoting Japan-United States relations through dignitary visits and exchanges from Japan to Hawai‘i island. Tommy Goya, past president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce on the Island of Hawaii delivered the congratulatory address on behalf of the guests. Dwayne Mukai, president of the Japanese Community Association of Hawaii closed the ceremony with his congratulatory address.
JANM LAUNCHES AN AMERICAN VOCABULARY
On Saturday, Oct. 8, the Japanese American National Museum launched a new collaborative project, An American Vocabulary: Words to Action, a flashcard art project developed by visual artist Audrey Chan and rapper Jason Chu to help stop the rising hate and violence towards people of Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander descent. The launch event took place at the JANM Plaza in Los Angeles, California, and included live music with Chu, percussionist Gingee and DJ Grace KTown. Chan facilitated an art demonstration connected to the flashcard project, which encouraged participants to honor their own community histories and community organizations set up tables in the plaza.
An American Vocabulary flashcards consists of 21 multilingual cards that portray figures, events and actions illustrating four themes of voice, ancestor, persistence and care, including discussion questions from JANM. The cards symbolize how Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific islander communities translate their American histories across linguistic, cultural and imaginative barriers. Chan and Chu created the flashcards with the 2022 fellows for the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy (NCPD@JANM) artists fellowship program with the purpose to equip all audiences with a vocabulary for AANHPI agency and allyship in the fight for social justice.
“This innovative project breaks down barriers by giving everyone a powerful visual resource to fight against injustice, hate and violence,” said Ann Burroughs, JANM president and CEO. “It will foster intergenerational communication, educate the public about the diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and give everyone an opportunity to be an advocate or ally in the advancement of social justice.”
The event and NCPD@JANM artists fellowship program is a collaboration between NCPD@JANM and Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California and is funded by Artists at Work, a national initiative developed by THE OFFICE performing arts and film with support from the Mellon Foundation, the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, Asian Arts Initiative and the Ford Foundation.
U.S. POSTAL SERVICE STAMP SOUGHT FOR LATE SENATOR INOUYE
Mainland organizers, who spent 15 years seeking adoption of an U.S. postal stamp recognizing the contributions of Nisei soldiers in World War II, now believe a similar honor should be bestowed on U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, who was the second longest serving member of the senate prior to his death in 2012 and a World War II Medal of Honor member of the segregated Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
Wayne Osako, chairperson of the Los Angeles-based Stamp Our Stamp Committee, told The Hawai‘i Herald that his organization’s proposal, submitted in August, has received “a positive response” from the U.S. Postal Service, which told him “it was under consideration.”
A postal service official in Washington D.C. declined to comment on the proposal. The Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee meets quarterly to confidentially review proposals and the process could take several years.
Osako in his August letter to the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee said Inouye’s story is “truly an American one, that uplifts and inspires.”
“His service to America led the way for a more equal justice and equal treatment for Japanese Americans, and all Asian American Pacific Islanders. His outstanding record inspired and opened doors for younger AAPI leaders who would follow him,” wrote Osako, a Sansei from Garden Grove, California.
“In a climate of anti-Asian hatred, a commemorative postage stamp to honor Senator Inouye would be most fitting and remind the American public of the importance of AAPI contributions to our nation.”
Inouye had served for 49 years in the U.S. Senate and as president pro tempore at the time of his death in 2012 was third in line of presidential succession behind the vice president and speaker of the U.S. House. He was the highest-ranking public official of Asian descent in U.S. history. He was 88.
The postal service’s approval would add to the namesakes that since his death amount to more than three dozen tributes to Inouye that range in namings of the latest U.S. Navy $1.5 billion plus Arleigh Burke-guided missile destroyer and C-17 Globemaster cargo jet (only one of five in the Air Forces’ inventory of 223 cargo jets) to several University of Hawai‘i buildings, including Hilo’s School of Pharmacy, health center on Maui and technology center on Kaua‘i; Honolulu International Airport; and Big Island’s Saddle Road.
As far back as 2004, Inouye, while he was still alive, shied away from having his name added to a fleet of four Pearl Harbor tugboats. Instead, Inouye chose “Kaimana Hila” to be painted on his 94-foot namesake. The Hawaiian song was his campaign song early in his political career. An Inouye spokesman then said Inouye didn’t like things named after him and the only buildings that bore his name were a federal building at Walter Reed Army Institute and a Michigan federal center, which was an Army hospital where he and Kansas Sen. Robert Dole convalesced after World War II. The other Pearl Harbor tugboats were named after Reps. Neil Abercrombie and Patsy Mink, and Sen. Daniel Akaka.
The postal service noted that its Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee, which meets quarterly, gets more than 50,000 proposals annually. Even after approval it takes two to three years to develop commemorative stamps that honor “extraordinary contributions on subjects that had significant impact on American history, culture or environment,” according to the postal service. No living persons are considered. Just recently the postal service announced that commemorative stamps will be issued next year honoring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died 2020; and author Toni Morrison, who died in 2019. Stamps honoring Hawai‘i dignitaries include King Kamehameha I and Duke Kahanamoku.
Inouye, enlisted in the 442nd RCT in 1943 and lost his right arm fighting the Germans in Italy and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and promoted to captain. In 2000, the award was upgraded to the Medal of Honor. He first represented Hawai‘i in Congress after statehood in 1959 and then was elevated to the U.S. Senate. He was the first Japanese American to serve in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. He chaired the senate committees on intelligence and Iran-Contra hearings and was a member of the Senate Watergate Committee. Prior to statehood Inouye was a member of the Territorial Legislature beginning in 1954.
The U.S. Postal Service on June 3, 2021, issued the “Go For Broke” commemorative stamp, recognizing the 33,000 Japanese American soldiers who served during World War II in the 100th Battalion, the 442nd RCT, the Military Intelligence Service, the 1399 Engineer Construction Battalion, the Women’s corps and other units. Three California Nisei women, who were incarcerated during World War II along with 120,000 other Japanese Americans under Executive Order 9066, and Osako’s committee lobbied successfully for the “Go For Broke” stamp, which features an artist’s depiction of Hawai‘i-born 442nd veteran Shiroku “Whitey” Yamamoto.
Letters of support should be addressed to: U.S Postmaster General Louis DeJoy; Attn: Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee; 475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3300; Washington, D.C. 20260-3501.
– Written by Gregg K. Kakesako
APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR THE HIROSHIMA PEACE SCHOLARSHIP
The Japan-America Society of Hawaii announced the relaunch of the Hiroshima Peace Scholarship for 2023, the first group to travel to Japan since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Selected scholars will study peace-related resources in their communities through a series of monthly workshops in Honolulu to prepare them for an educational summer trip to Hiroshima. While abroad, scholars will explore history and effects of World War II; actively participate in events commemorating the Aug. 6, 1945, bombing of Hiroshima; and experience homestays with host families and exchanges with Japanese students. Upon returning to O‘ahu, scholarship recipients will continue developing as peacebuilders and share their experiences and reflections on their time in Hiroshima with their schools and communities.
The Hiroshima Peace Scholarship was founded in 2009 by Hiromi Peterson and Naomi Hirano-Omizo to foster young peacebuilders and strengthen relationships between Hawai‘i and Hiroshima. The scholarship is funded by their Japanese-language textbook, “Adventures in Japanese.”
In Japan, scholars will be received by the Hiroshima Peace Scholarship’s new sister program, the Hawaii Heiwa Scholarship, which plans to send high school scholars from Hiroshima to Hawai‘i in spring 2024. Through the Hawaii Heiwa Scholarship, Japanese students will learn about the history of the Japanese American Nisei community in Hawai‘i and deepen their understanding of the geopolitical context leading up to the Pearl Harbor attack and connect with O‘ahu high school students and Nisei community organizations through homestays, field trips and discussion.
The program is open to O‘ahu high school students who are passionate about growing as peacebuilders and fostering relationships bridging communities in Hiroshima and Hawai‘i. Two O‘ahu high school juniors – one attending public school and one attending private school – will be selected for the Hiroshima Peace Scholarship.
To apply, students must submit a written application with a proposal identifying a family member whose wartime experiences they would like to learn more about and share with high school students in Hiroshima, where they’ll discuss the impacts of war and importance of peace. Finalists will be required to attend an oral interview. Japanese language is not a requirement for this scholarship, and students with or without Japanese-language background are encouraged to apply.
Applications may be submitted online or by mail, and must be received by Jan. 6, 2023. Please visit jashhawaii.org/hps for more information and to download an application.
The Japan-America Society of Hawaii is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization with the mission of promoting understanding and friendship between the peoples of Japan and the United States through the special and unique perspective of Hawai‘i. JASH has coordinated the Hiroshima Peace Scholarship program since 2021 and is excited to receive scholars for the inaugural Hawaii Heiwa Scholarship program in 2024.