Ehime Maru Memorial Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon
On Thursday, March 24, 2022, the Ehime Maru Memorial Association (EMMA) hosted a special luncheon via Zoom celebrating the efforts of our dedicated volunteers from local Japanese American community groups who have donated numerous hours of service to clean and maintain the Ehime Maru Memorial in Kakaʻako Waterfront Park. This year marked the 20th anniversary of the unveiling of the memorial in 2002, a year after the sinking of the Uwajima Fisheries High School training ship Ehime Maru which suffered the loss of nine lives, including four students, two teachers and three crew members.
During the virtual luncheon, a slideshow of this year’s memorial ceremony; recordings of Ehime-Hawaii online exchanges coordinated by the Ehime Prefectural International Center (EPIC) and Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH); and video messages of appreciation from Mayor Okahara of Uwajima City and Uwajima Fisheries High School were shared with our volunteers. For lunch, volunteers picked up a special bento from Kokoro-Tei via drive-through pick-up at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii earlier in the morning.
Principal Takemiya of Uwajima Fisheries High School
EMMA President, Reyna Kaneko, expressed sincere gratitude to the volunteers from many organizations in Hawaii who have cleaned the Ehime Maru Memorial every Saturday since its unveiling. Mr. Ken Saiki, EMMA Director, who coordinates the volunteer groups for weekly maintenance and cleaning, also thanked the volunteers for their tremendous contributions throughout the years and gave special recognition to the following organizations for their continuous service over the past 20 years: Hawaii Fukuoka Kenjin Kai; Hawaii Meijikai; Hawaii United Okinawa Association; Honoulu Fukushima Kenjin Kai; Honolulu Hiroshima Heritage Study Group; Honolulu Hiroshima Kenjin Kai; Honolulu Takata Gunjinkai; Honolulu Yamaguchi Kenjinkai; Wahiawa Nikkei Civic Association; and Wahiawa-Waialua Hiroshima Kenjin Kai. In addition, special acknowledgement went to Hawaii Ehime Kenjinkai for their dedicated participation in the memorial cleaning and maintenance of the mikan tree every month.
The Ehime Maru Memorial Association would like to thank all the volunteers again who continue to support and care for the memorial and in turn, the bereaved families. JASH serves as 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.