A tragic accident that happened in February 2001 in Hawaiian waters was remembered for the 14th year with a memorial service at the Ehime Maru Memorial at the Kaka‘ako Waterfront Park. The short, but solemn, service was conducted by the Rev. Irene Matsumoto of the Palolo Kwannon Temple and attended by the family members of several of the deceased.
On Feb. 9, 2001, the USS Greeneville, a nuclear-powered submarine practicing a high speed surfacing maneuver off Oahu’s south shore struck the Ehime Maru, an Uwajima Fisheries High School training ship from Ehime, Japan. Nine people were killed in the incident, including four students. Twenty-six people survived.
Killed were students Toshiya Sakashima, Yusuke Terata, Katsuya Nomoto and Takeshi Mizuguchi; teachers Hiroshi Makizawa and Jun Nakata; and crewmembers Hirotaka Segawa, Toshimichi Furuya and Hiroshi Nishida.
Tatsuyoshi Mizuguchi, whose son was killed in the accident, spoke on behalf of the families. He said they plan to return to Hawai‘i every year to participate in the memorial service for as long as their health allows.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, Hawai‘i’s Japanese American community quickly took the lead in establishing the Ehime Maru Fund to accept donations of sympathy and support.
In November 2001, at the request of the Ehime government, the nonprofit Ehime Maru Memorial Association was established by the state of Hawai‘i to coordinate the construction of an Ehime Maru memorial at a site in Hawai‘i. The monument, which was built at the Kaka‘ako Waterfront Park, which looks out over Oahu’s south shore, was completed by Feb. 9, 2002, the first anniversary of the accident. Since then, a memorial ceremony has been held every year on the anniversary of the tragedy at both Uwajima Fisheries High School and at the monument in Hawai‘i. The memorial’s upkeep is coordinated by the Ehime Maru Memorial Association, which is overseen by the Japan-America Society of Hawaii.