LIHU‘E — Kapu Kinimaka-Alquiza was on a bus with her hula dancers when the earthquake struck last March off the coast of Japan.
She spent the night with more than 13,000 Japanese residents impacted by the disaster. She said she was impressed with the discipline demonstrated by the people in the face of catastrophe.
Na Hula O Kaohikukapulani was one of the groups who turned out Sunday for the Aloha Kaua‘i for Japan fundraiser for victims of the Japan disaster.
Bertram Almeida, one of the event organizers, said he, too, was impacted by the disaster. He noted the images of a young child staring aimlessly at rubble which used to be his home have stayed fresh in his memory.
“We just have to do something,” Bertram said during the planning process for the day-long, family-oriented event at the North Vidinha fields.
Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., in his opening remarks, said Kaua‘i has three sister cities in Japan with another one, Iwaki City, likely joining those ranks soon.
Following the destruction wrought by Hurricane Iniki in 1992, Japan was one of the first in line with disaster relief, Carvalho said.
“We remember well how grateful we felt to get the aid, prayers and support from the Japanese people,” he said. “It’s our turn to give back. We fortunately escaped any serious damage from the tsunami.”
Blaine Kamalani Kia, president of Ka Laua‘e Foundation, said in a letter that the Aloha Kaua‘i for Japan benefit concert will stand as a testament for the island’s strong commitment to the “aloha spirit” and goodwill towards mankind.
“There is no better way to show our ‘aloha’ than with our communities coming together in song and dance in the most Kaua‘i way,” he said. “We are committed to this effort for the sake of the well-being of the lives of the families, our brothers and sisters in Japan.”
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.