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Wreaths and floral offerings decorate the Ehime Maru Memorial for the 22nd Memorial Ceremony.

On Thursday, February 9, 2023, the Ehime Maru Memorial Association (EMMA) held a remembrance ceremony for the 22nd anniversary of the tragic sinking of the Uwajima Fisheries High School training ship Ehime Maru at the Ehime Maru Memorial in Kakaako Waterfront Park. The Ehime Maru suffered the loss of nine lives, including four students, two teachers, and three crew members after it was unexpectedly struck by the USS Greeneville submarine.

While none of the bereaved families and officials from Ehime Prefecture and Uwajima City were able to attend this year’s ceremony due to the pandemic, representatives from the Uwajima Lions Club and the Uwajima City Hospital who were in Honolulu to participate in exchange programs with the Manoa Lions Club and the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine respectively joined the ceremony. Consul General Yutaka Aoki, Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke, and Mayor Rick Blangiardi along with over 50 members of the community also attended the ceremony to pay tribute to the nine souls who were lost in the tragic accident 22 years ago.

Lieutenant Governor Luke offers words of remembrance.

The ceremony was not only a reminder of the tragedy, but also the deep ties between two nations made stronger after the tragedy. “The tragedy of Ehime Maru is a sorrowful and important part of our history that we must not forget,” said Lieutenant Governor Luke. “Guided by patience, integrity, and aloha – the United States and Japan emerged from this tragedy by forging a stronger, more resilient bond,” Luke added.

Messages of remembrance from Governor Tokihiro Nakamura of Ehime Prefecture and Mayor Fumiaki Okahara of Uwajima City were also read, and wreaths and lei were offered in memory of the nine who were lost in the tragedy on behalf of the bereaved family members and Ehime Prefecture/Uwajima City officials.

Dr. Glenn Medeiros, President, and Mr. Tim Los Banos, Vice Principal of Saint Louis School offer flowers of remembrance.

In his message as the representative of the bereaved families, Mr. Tatsuyoshi Mizuguchi expressed heartfelt gratitude to community volunteers including students from Saint Louis School who have continued to take care of the memorial and keep the memory of the nine souls alive. “It is a day when we remember the pain we went through, but it is also a day when we recognize again the kindness of those who have supported us through the years.”

JASH serves at the administrator of the Ehime Maru Memorial Association and works to preserve the memory of the lives lost in this tragic accident and to maintain the memorial in perpetuity.

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