Melissa McFerrin-Warrack forgot her sweater Friday and was ready to get another one before Pearl Shimizu and Art Umezu presented her with a happi (not happy) coat so she could attend bon dance and participate during the opening ceremonies for the Hawaii Nikkei Legacy exhibit.
The Rev. Yoshiko Shimabukuro was presented a lei just because she is 106 years old, and attended the opening ceremonies, where Allison Arakawa of Honolulu rendered “Hole Hole Bushi,” a song composed in honor of women who worked the pineapple and cane fields.
Yoshiko “Dimples” Kano said Shimabukuro was one of a few, if not the only, Buddhist priest in Hawaii following World War II, and Dimples and her husband enjoyed one of the first weddings officiated by her (James Yamamoto said the reverend even remembered him).
Byrnes Yamashita said “Nikkei” means “out of Japan,” and there is great interest by native Japanese on the experiences of Nikkei, not only in Hawaii, but in the United States, and even internationally in places like Brazil. The exhibit has been on tour for about a year throughout Japan, and Kauai is the first stop in Hawaii before the exhibit moves to the Big Island, Maui and Oahu. The interest by the Japanese people serves as a bridge between those who live in Japan and those who live elsewhere.
The exhibit is free and available for viewing at Kukui Grove Center through Sept. 23. A full listing of exhibit open days can be found at www.kukuigrovecenter.com.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.