HONOLULU – Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. and Kaua’i County Film Commissioner Art Umezu were among the invited guests at a memorial reception Sunday at the Japanese Cultural Center in Honolulu.
The event commemorated the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan last March.
In his remarks, Mayor Carvalho described how he felt when he visited Iwaki City last October to attend the Rejuvenation event, and also talked about Kaua’i’s newly formed sister-city relationship with Iwaki City.
The mayor said, “I was deeply touched by your boundless energy, and resilience, despite the challenges you face, and as your sister city, we stand ready to assist you in whatever way we can.”
Umezu, whose family roots lie in Fukushima, Japan talked about the connections Kaua’i has made with Iwaki City over the last 20 years, including: the student exchange program between Kaua’i Community College and Iwaki East Japan International University; hula and cultural exchange programs; and the exchange programs between the Kaua’i Marathon and the Iwaki Sunshine Marathon.
He noted, “It was a very special day when the highly esteemed Japanese kumu hula Kaleinani Hayakawa flew to Kaua’i 12 years ago and planted a ‘hula tree’ on the grounds of the Kaua’i War Memorial Convention Hall.”
Other distinguished guests at the commemorative event included: Gov. Neil Abercrombie; former Gov. George Ariyoshi; Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle; and Gen. Gary North, commander of the Pacific Air Forces.
The reception concluded with a 15-minute video presentation titled “Thank you from Japan”, and a presentation by exchange students from the Sendai Ikuei Gakuen Academy, where major damage occurred following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.