Notes of nostalgia

LIHUE — Enka singing will be in the spotlight at about 11:30 Saturday morning at the 32nd annual Matsuri Kauai Festival with the performance of Honolulu’s Torao Hikariyama.

The free event is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall on Saturday, and Torao’s notes of nostalgia will ring from the stage at about noon.

Enka — translated as ‘performance song’ — is a traditional style of Japanese music that is usually performed as a sentimental ballad.

It became popular in pre-war Japan and lyrics usually revolve around lost love, loneliness and jealousy, and a longing for an idealized Japanese past.

Tevita Apina, known on stage as Torao, is 21 years old and has performed in Japan after being scouted by a producer for Japan’s Fuji TV.

The Matsuri Kauai Festival commemorates the 20th anniversary of Hiroshima and Hawaii being sister states, and the centerpiece of the festival is the Orizuru Tree of Peace and Aloha.

The Orizuru Tree is dedicated to Sadako Sasaki, a young girl from Hiroshima who survived the bombing on Aug. 6, 1945. She died Oct. 12, 1955, at the age of 12 from leukemia caused by the fallout.

The tree is also dedicated to Aiko Nakaya from Waimea, who taught origami art on Kauai. She passed away in June.

On Oct. 7, people can fold orizuru at the festival and place them at a designated Orizuru Tree area. Japanese origami papers for folding will be provided by Kauai’s four sister cities in Japan.

“We have the usual,” said Pearl Shimizu, one of the event organizers. “We have drumming and some singers and Japanese dancing, and we have martial arts and mochi pounding, bonsai and a craft fair outside.”

There’s also an opportunity to try on traditional Japanese formal wear, and kimonos will be on hand to dress up in and take pictures, for a fee.

In addition to Torao Hikariyama’s performance, guests can take in a magic show by Shu “Mister Magic” Igari from Iwaki city as well as dances, songs and taiko performances, an omotesenke tea ceremony, shigin (poetic singing) and soba-making and tasting from Iwaki city.

Info: Pearl Shimizu, 822-5353 or


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