In August, JASH Chair Sharon Weiner and JASH President Ed Hawkins visited both Nagaoka City in Niigata Prefecture and Uwajima City and Matsuyama City in Ehime Prefecture to promote sister city and sister state ties between Hawaii and Japan. The visits were in keeping with JASH’s mission of promoting understanding and friendship between the peoples of U.S. and Japan through the special and unique perspective of Hawaii. The visit to Nagaoka City was at the invitation of its Committee for Developing a Bridge of Friendship between Japan and USA to view its world-famous fireworks festival, and the excursion to Ehime was at the invitation of Uwajima City to attend its first Hawaiian Festival. This trip was supported by Ms. Weiner and DFS Hawaii.
The Nagaoka City visit deepened the ever-growing ties with the City and County of Honolulu which signed a sister city relationship document this past March. Although the main purpose was to enjoy the fabulous fireworks festival, the visit was an opportunity to call on Nagaoka’s Mayor Tamio Mori, visit the new City Hall patterned after the open architecture of Honolulu Hale, and engage in discussions about future educational and cultural exchanges between students of Nagaoka and Honolulu.
Following that visit, Ms. Weiner and Mr. Hawkins traveled to Ehime Prefecture where the first stop was to Honolulu’s sister city Uwajima. At its inaugural Hawaiian Festival, Ms. Weiner read a letter of greeting and congratulations from the Mayor of Honolulu, Peter Carlisle. The two also visited Uwajima Fisheries High School, home school for the training ship Ehime Maru, the genesis of the current relationship between Uwajima and Honolulu. Afterwards the two paid a courtesy visit to Uwajima Minami Junior High School, the sister school for Kawananakoa Middle School that JASH had a hand in help creating.
The final stop was to Ehime’s capital city of Matsuyama where the visitors met with Ehime Prefectural International Center staff and the two interns from the University of Hawaii, Aurora Tsai and Manako, who were completing their three-month internship (this program is a good-will measure put in place by the Ehime government following the Ehime Maru incident). At a lunch meeting with Ehime Governor Tokihiro Nakamura, the two discussed next year’s important 13th anniversary of the Ehime Maru incident in Hawaii, and areas of cultural, educational, and economic cooperation between Ehime and Hawaii. Reports of this visit were sent to Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism to provide inputs for next year’s 10th anniversary of marking Ehime-Hawaii sister state relationship.
Additional details of these visits can be found on the trip report here: Read more