As in 2011, college students from Honolulu’s newest sister city, Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, visited Honolulu from December 2 – 9 as a continuation of a collaborative program with Nagaoka’s International Exchange Association to promote emerging ties between the two cities. The students’ visit was twofold. First was to engage in round-table discussions about Japan’s war experience and attainment of peace in the world with students at the University of Hawaii. The other was to attend the Pearl Harbor Attack memorial ceremony on December 7, see the actual attack sites, and see how America remembers that event and honors those who died and those who survived.
Nagaoka City was totally destroyed by U.S. bombing near the waning stages of World War II and the City holds a fireworks festival each year on the anniversary of that attack to remember the victims and to dedicate itself to lasting peace. In March, Nagaoka brought these world-famous fireworks to the Honolulu Festival as a gift to the people of Honolulu and visitors to the festival. As a result of the deepening relationship, Nagaoka is again bringing the fireworks to Honolulu next year.
JASH began the student exchanges with Nagaoka several years ago, leading to the signing of a sister city agreement with Honolulu this March. In February, JASH sent three Waipahu High School students to Nagaoka to experience its snow festival, learn its history, and be hosted for home-stays. JASH believes it’s vitally important to educate our youth about the shared history and experiences. A related initiative was to bring together Nagaoka’s Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto museum (his home town) and Pearl Harbor Memorial Museum to share materials and artifacts. JASH is proud to assist with these acts of furthering understanding and promoting reconciliation between former enemies who are now close friends.