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Japan visitors reaffirm sister city relations

For 24 Ishigaki City, Japan citizens, the importance of the 60th anniversary Reaffirmation Ceremony was obvious. The group traveled 4,800 miles from Japan to attend and participate in the 60th anniversary of the sister city relationship, and witness the reaffirmation of the relationship for another 60 years, and beyond.

“This is an extension of aloha,” said Kumu Hula Troy Allen Hinano Lazaro, who participated in the mele aloha that welcomed the visitors for less than a day before they left for Honolulu and Japan.

Art Umezu, in tracing the history of the sister city relationship, said the original document was signed by Kaua‘i Board of Supervisors Chairman Raymond X. Aki and six Kaua‘i supervisors on May 1, 1963.

Ishigaki City Mayor Yoshitaka Nakayama, accompanied by six members of the Ishigaki City Council, his staff and wife Sachiko Nakayama, said he signed a similar document on May 1 that will send a group of junior high school students to Kaua‘i for a two-week home study tour.

The value of the educational experiences by the people of both Kaua‘i and Ishigaki City was demonstrated by presence of former Mayor Maryanne Kusaka, a retired teacher and visitor to Ishigaki City for a sister city reaffirmation visit in 2001.

She was joined by former Kaua‘i Community College Provost David Iha, who was instrumental in establishing programs at the college level, including with students from Ryukyu University and Okinawa Christian College. She was also joined by Kyoko Ikeda-Chun, who is currently in charge of international students at the college in Puhi.

Kaua‘i Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami said it was an honor to continue the relationship with Ishigaki City, noting the changes in focus to climate change and peace for our children.

Ishigaki City Mayor Nakayama presented his official gift following the signing of the reaffirmation documents. The gift was a hand-woven tapestry themed water as the source of life.

“Just as flow of water and life goes on forever, it is hoped that the exchange between Kaua‘i County and Ishigaki City will also go on forever,” states documentation accompanying the tapestry. “The lei connected pattern is also meant to appear as hands clasping one another, representing the citizens of Kaua‘i and Ishigaki holding each other’s hands, and symbolizing our connection.”

Kawakami, mindful of the short period of time remaining for the Ishigaki City visitors, invited the island’s “brothers and sisters” to partake in a Hawaiian lunch prepared by the Aloha Craft Cafe.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or
Source: The Garden Island

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