LIHUE — Connecting people creates bridges which promotes global peace, Art Umezu said Saturday during the Bridge of Peace festival at the Kauai Veterans Center.
“Today’s event promotes global peace by connecting people and creating bridges around the world,” Umezu said. “To learn and understand about other cultures is one way to help promote and bring peace to the world.”
Hundreds of people filled the open space of the Kauai Veterans Center to view the Kojiki Art Exhibit and listen to the Hawaii Gagaku Society with Master Sensei Rev. Masatoshi Shamoto perform music and dance dating back more than 1,200 years.
“Rev. Shamoto was my sensei,” said state Rep. Nadine Nakamura. “All the siblings in our family did gagaku. I had to come and greet him.”
The Rev. Nicole Sakurai of the El Cantare Foundation, presenter of the Bridge of Peace festival, said Shamoto has done a lot of work with gagaku, translated to mean “elegant music,” through the University of Hawaii.
“He’s in his 80s,” Sakurai said. “And he’s never been to Kauai. Today, with the Hawaii Gagaku Society, Kauai is privileged to hear this music that was designed to entertain the emperor for the first time.”
Kapaa High School student Hannah Collins-Doijode had just come in to volunteer following her cross country race in Waimea. She had time to go through the Kojiki Art Exhibit before settling in at her registration station.
“I remember some of this,” Collins-Doijode said. “I went to Japan and my dad and I went to the Hiroshima peace memorial. They have a lot of this there. It’s interesting to see what humans can do to other humans.”
Janell Perreira was another Kapaa student touring the exhibit.
“It’s sad,” she said. “It’s also cool. I don’t know how to describe the feeling I have, but it is very interesting. It opens my eyes to other things going on in other places.”
Another Peace Day event, the Pathways for Peace presented by the Interfaith Roundtable of Kauai, takes place today from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Lydgate Beach Park main pavilion featuring music, refreshments, non-violent communication seminars by Isa Maria, multi-cultural prayers, a puppet show, a dove release and more.
A Pledge for Peace on Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. will presented by the Kauai Soto Zen Temple, Eleele School, the Storybook Theatre of Hawaii and the Family and Friends of Agriculture, centering around the World Peace Kannon statue on the grounds of the Kauai Soto Zen Temple in Hanapepe.