UH CENTER ON AGING AND ‘IOLANI SCHOOL REVITALIZE “CLUB 100”
For most of its existence since it was built in 1952, the unassuming one-story building long known as “Club 100” at 520 Kamoku Street served as a gathering place for veterans of the legendary 100th Infantry Battalion, which originated as a nearly all-Japanese American combat unit during World II. For its bravery and sacrifices, the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team would later be recognized as the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in the history of the United States military.
For many of the Nisei (second-generation Japanese American) veterans, Club 100 was like their second home. They could socialize with their fellow veterans, hold important meetings at the clubhouse, and celebrate collective holiday gatherings with their families. The camaraderie and bonds forged during the war extended into civilian life for decades. However, as time passed, the original members of the clubhouse began to age and the veterans began to pass away. Involvement in the clubhouse understandably waned, and the COVID-19 pandemic that forced closures of so many meeting spaces only worsened matters. The future of the clubhouse was uncertain, and steps were taken by the organization’s previous board to transfer ownership of the land and building to a mainland veterans organization.
A group of the clubhouse’s members, many of them sons and daughters of the original members, decided this was not the best direction to take and saw a different future for the clubhouse, one that had the potential for greater engagement between the clubhouse and nearby community partners.
Dr. Christy Nishita, a gerontologist and interim director of the University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa Thompson School of Social Work & Public Health Center on Aging teamed up with ‘Iolani School’s Candice Sakuda, director of community and civic engagement, and leaders and staff at the 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans organization, to embark on an project-based learning initiative called “Legacy2Action.” The partnership made sense as ‘Iolani School is right across the street from the clubhouse, and the Legacy2Action project is an intergenerational activity that connects middle and high school students with adults of all ages in an effort to improve society in some way through the shared values that inspired the Nisei soldiers to serve their country during the war.
On Sunday, Feb. 5, students from both private and public schools on O‘ahu gathered at the clubhouse to work on a variety of beautification and revitalization tasks. It was a multigenerational endeavor as people of all ages – but especially the middle and high school students – worked together to respectfully care for both the interior and grounds of this historic meeting place. A Community Focus article in the Friday, March 17 issue of The Hawai‘i Herald described the day’s success and organizers hoped that future collaboration was possible.
That future collaboration transpired on a bright Sunday afternoon on Sunday, April 30, when students returned to the clubhouse to share their Legacy2Action projects with parents, teachers, and current clubhouse and community members. The student projects were varied and impressive. Owen Lai, a high school student at ‘Iolani, thanked his project mentor, Dr. Christy Nishita, for guiding him through a needs assessment research project in which he studied the potential for greater community engagement between the clubhouse and nearby community partners.
“To gain various perspectives,” Lai wrote in his project summary, “I have conducted qualitative interviews and used surveys to understand issues and opportunities to increase community engagement and to look at this history of the club to understand what has worked in the past.”
Lai’s research resulted in a list of community-based solutions including things like intergenerational activities, field trips, sponsored competitions, expanding membership, curriculum building, and more. He said that he hopes to collect more data from different stakeholders to enhance his findings.
Many other impressive projects designed to improve some aspect of society were described on poster boards around the clubhouse’s interior wall, with students available to expand on their research and answer questions, similar to an actual academic conference in a professional setting. One poster board described the importance of maintaining and cultivating the honeybee population globally and in Hawai‘i. Another described the dangers of invasive seaweed species (known in Japanese as ogo) in Hawai‘i’s oceans and what can be done to mitigate the problem. Other projects included an intergenerational activity kit for grandparents and elementary-aged grandchildren to learn about Japanese American internment during World War II as well as a project providing art kits for houseless children. Many of the students were mentored by Dr. Megan Kawatachi, who teaches “My Life, My Island, My World,” a service-learning class.
McKinley High School’s Shane Kaneshiro – a well-rounded student who has served as the editor-in-chief of his school’s student-run newspaper and is a JROTC cadet – talked about his visits with two Nisei veterans, namely Jack Nakamura and Dr. Takashi Manago. They were among the few surviving veterans of their generation from the 100th Infantry Battalion. In addition to talking with them and learning about their life stories, Kaneshiro presented them each with a hand-crafted quilt, deeply appreciated by the elder veterans. In January 2015, Nakamura was honored with the Chevalier dans l’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur (Knight in the National Order of the French Legion of Honor) for helping to liberate France from the Nazis during World War II. Shane wrote an essay about his visit with Nakamura, who was 99 years old at the time of the article, which was published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in April 2022 as part of a special series called Nisei Impact, a youth storytelling project led by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and the nonprofit Nisei Veterans Legacy.
In his essay, Kaneshiro wrote: “To prove his loyalty as an American, at age 19, Nakamura enlisted in the U.S. Army. He stood in formation on the grounds of ‘Iolani Palace for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team farewell ceremony and was sent to train at Camp Shelby in Mississippi. He then traveled by boat to Casablanca, North Africa, before reaching Anzio, Italy.” Included with the article was a photo of Shane standing in the foreground in his JROTC uniform with Nakamura also in the photo behind a colorful sign that read, “Happy 99th Birthday!”
During Kaneshiro’s presentation to the audience about his Legacy2Action project at Club 100 on April 30, he revealed some unexpected news. “This past Thursday, Mr. Nakamura sadly passed away.”
Former State Senator Brian Taniguchi, a longtime champion of the 100th Infantry Battalion veterans, delivered the closing remarks at the Legacy2Action event. The 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans would like to thank ‘Iolani School’s Office of Community and Civic Engagement, UH Center on Aging, Senator Brian Taniguchi (ret.), Central Pacific Bank, ‘Ölelo Community Media (who filmed the event), the student presenters and their teams and the mentors and teachers who all made Legacy2Action possible.
The future of Hawai‘i relies on the positive values carried forward by its youth today, and if the students who participated in this year’s Legacy2Action project are any indication, that future is hopeful.
-Written by Kevin Kawamoto
AARP HAWAII TO OFFER FREE OBON ONLINE CLASS
Join AARP Hawaii on Tuesday, May 23 at 10 a.m. to learn basic bon dance steps and movements. Also explore the history of Obon and its role in Hawai‘i’s culture. Get prepared for Obon Dance Season in July and August!
Bon Odori, or “Bon Dance,” is a style of dancing performed during Obon, an annual Buddhist event for commemorating ones’ ancestors, whose spirits are believed to temporarily return to visit their relatives during Obon. It is celebrated throughout Hawai‘i, and the community is a welcome part of the celebrations. Please consult your physician before beginning any new exercise regimen.
Register by going to the AARP Hawaii website at aarp.org/hi or the AARP Hawaii Facebook page and clicking on the “Upcoming Events” tab to see and register any of the events that AARP has to offer. You can also register by phone at 877-926-8300. Please note that you must be signed in to your AARP.org account or create an account to register for events. AARP membership is not required. Please do not opt out of event-related email, as you will be emailed a link to join the class via Zoom prior to the event.
LANTERN FLOATING RETURNING IN-PERSON
Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawai‘i, the annual Memorial Day ceremony held on Ala Moana Beach, announced its online reservation system for individuals, families and groups interested in floating an Individual Lantern during the ceremony at Ala Moana Beach on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29. Reservations may be made online starting Monday, May 15 at 7 a.m. HST at lanternfloatinghawaii.com.
“As we return to Ala Moana Beach this year, the online reservation system will help to provide efficiency for our volunteers and members of our community looking to float a lantern during the ceremony,” said Rev. Craig Yamamoto, community relations liaison of Shinnyo-en Hawaii. “We would also encourage families and groups to share a lantern so that more people can participate and share their remembrances of loved ones.”
Starting at 7 a.m. on Monday, May 15, those who wish to float an individual lantern in the ceremony may reserve a single lantern through the online reservation system. Lanterns will be available for pickup on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Lantern Pickup Tent that will be located ‘Ewa of the fixed concession stand at Ala Moana Beach. Multiple dates will also be available for lantern pickup at Shinnyo-en Hawaii (2348 S. Beretania St.) prior to Memorial Day. A preferred date for pickup may be chosen when making a reservation. To allow for as many to share in the experience of receiving and floating a lantern, duplicate reservations will be canceled. To make reservations visit lanternfloatinghawaii.com.
Participants are asked not to float their own homemade lanterns or lanterns not provided by Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawai‘i. Lanterns provided and floated during the ceremony are collected at the end of the night by volunteers who carefully refurbish each lantern to be used in the coming years.
Those unable to float a lantern in-person at the ceremony are welcomed to participate online or through the Shinnyo Lantern Floating app. Remembrances, prayers and affirmations submitted online at lanternfloatinghawaii.com through Sunday, May 28, 11:59 p.m. HST will be printed and floated on a Collective Remembrance Lantern. Through the Shinnyo Lantern Floating app, users may virtually float a lantern including their remembrances of loved ones. Remembrances submitted through the app through Sunday, May 28, 11:59 p.m. will also be floated in the ceremony.
The Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawai‘i ceremony will broadcast live on Memorial Day, May 29 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. HST on KHON2 (FOX), KHII and CW. The special will be simultaneously streamed on the following: lanternfloatinghawaii.com; KHON2.com; Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawai‘i’s Facebook page and Youtube; and KHON2’s Facebook page and YouTube.
For more information on the event, visit lanternfloatinghawaii.com, e-mail email@example.com or call 808-942-1848.
72ND ANNUAL MAYOR’S MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONY
The 72nd Annual Mayor’s Memorial Day Ceremony will return to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Püowaina (Punchbowl) on Monday, May 29, beginning 8:30 a.m. More event information is coming soon. “With the tumultuous circumstances created by the pandemic and Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine, our appreciation for the sacrifices made by those who came before us demand commemoration now more than ever,” said Mayor Rick Blangiardi, on the honoulu.gov/parks website. “I am humbled to return our Memorial Day Ceremony to Püowaina, a beautiful location honoring those who gave their lives in defense of our democratic ideals. May this event serve as a reminder that our gratitude is due every day, as we continue to preserve and enhance the principles we hold to be righteous.”
According to the website, following WWII, Püowaina was designated the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific with the first Memorial Day Ceremony held within the crater in 1949. Since that first humble ceremony, City and County of Honolulu has been honored to work with numerous veteran, community, and educational organizations to help facilitate this time-honored tradition.
You can also join the Parks & Recreation staff in showing your appreciation by helping to sew lei for Memorial Day! The following locations will be hosting lei-making. If you can’t volunteer your time, they also take flower donations, particularly plumeria. Feel free to drop-off your flower donations at any of the lei-sewing sites listed below as well:
•Thursday, May 25
•Käne‘ohe Community and Senior Center 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., 45-613 Pü‘öhala Street 808-768-6847. Adults Only.
•Friday, May 26
•Ala Pu‘umalu Community Park 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. 1575 Ala Pu‘umalu Street 808-768-6738
•Booth District Park 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. 2341 Käneali‘i Avenue 808-768-6744
•Honolulu Hale 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. 530 South King Street
•Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Garden 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. 45-680 Luluku Road 808-233-7323
•Kailua District Park 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. 21 S. Kainalu Drive 808-768-6824
•Kaläkaua District Park 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. 720 McNeill Street 808-768-6757
•Kapolei Hale 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. 1000 Ulu‘öhi‘a Street
•Kïlauea District Park 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.* 4109 Kïlauea Avenue 808)-768-6713
•Makua Ali‘i Senior Center 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. 1541 Kaläkaua Avenue 808-768-6895
•McCully District Park 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. 831 Pumehana Street 808-768-6707
•Mililani District Park 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. 94-1150 Lanikühana Street 808-768-6777
•Wahiawä Botanical Garden 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. 1396 California Avenue 808-621-5463
•Wai‘anae District Park 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. 85-601 Farrington Highway 808-696-5039
•Waiau District Park 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. 98-1650 Ka‘ahumanu Street 808-768-6795
•Wailupe Community Park 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.* 939 Hind Iuka Drive 808-768-8948
•Waimänalo District Park 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. 41-415 Hïhïmanu Street 808-768-6841
•Bill Balfour, Jr. Waipahü District Park 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. 94-230 Päiwa Street 808-768-6798
*until flowers run out
You may also drop off lei at the following O‘ahu locations on Friday, May 26:
•Federal and City & County Fire Stations: All fire stations on O‘ahu 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Please do not drop off lei if no one is at the station.
•Frank F. Fasi Municipal Building, between the hours of 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. 808-768-3440, Parks Permit Section, 1st floor, 650 S. King Street.
•District II Office, Between the hours of 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., 808-768-9288, 1527 Ke‘eaumoku Street.
•Hälawa District Park, between the hours of 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., 808-768-6751 99-795 ‘Iwa‘iwa Street.
•Instructions for sewing lei: All lei must be made of fresh flowers or ti leaves and measure 20-22 inches before tying. Floral spray, such as ti leaf and anthurium bouquets are welcome.