Kauai Buddhist Council wraps up bon season

KAPAIA — Ed Kawamura was proud of the fact he picked up his three guests from Germany and brought them directly to the bon dance Saturday at the Lihue Hongwanji Mission. 

“Look at what I got,” Kawamura said. “These are Lily’s relatives from Germany and I just picked them up from the airport. They haven’t been anywhere else — just straight to the bon dance.”

The Lihue Hongwanji hosted the final bon dance of the Kauai Buddhist Council for the 2015 bon season.

“We have toro nagashi Sunday,” said the Rev. Kosen Ishikawa of the Koloa Jodo Mission. “Then, we do bon again next year.”

The toro nagashi represents the end of the bon season for Jodo Buddhists. A boat laden with foods pulls a flotilla of rafts bearing toro, or Japanese paper lanterns, each representing a soul of a deceased person, out to sea to return to the spirit world until next year’s bon when they are reunited with their earthly families.

“Bon is a time of reflection,” said the Rev. Kazunori Takahashi of the Lihue Hongwanji Mission. “It is a time when people think back on those who have passed on and express appreciation for their contributions and help.”

Earlier in the week, Wayne Fujioka, president of the Lihue Hongwanji Mission, grappled with Tropical Storm Guillermo and its effects on the bon dance. He finally put his faith in the teru teru bozu, a Japanese mythological character believed to have the power of keeping inclement weather away.

The weather stayed clear until Saturday evening when the heavens could not longer contain its load of rain.

With the completion of the Kauai Buddhist Council bon dance calendar, two more bon dances remain.

The Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital hosts its annual bon dance for its residents on Aug. 20 starting at 6 p.m. with the help of the Kauai United Japanese Council and a lot of the dancers from the Kauai Buddhist Council.

The Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital Auxiliary and its Board of Directors will host its bon dance on Aug. 21 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on the KVMH front lawn.

Parking will be available at KVMH and at Waimea Canyon Middle School.

Brycen Hiraoka, president of the KVMH Auxiliary, said there will be lots of food, including traditional bon dance menu offerings, games and a craft fair.


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