World Peace Kannon decorated until Sunday in Hanapepe

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    From left, Phillip Price, Blanche Suga, Roy Miyashiro and Brendan Smth work to decorate the World Peace Kannon statue Tuesday following the Peace Day bell ringing at the Kaua‘i Soto Zen Temple Zenshuji in Hanapepe.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Roy Miyashiro sounds the temple gong at the Kaua‘i Soto Zen Temple Senshuji in Hanapepe Tuesday to join other bells being sounded on Peace Day.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Volunteer Blanche Suga gets a string of paper cranes from Brendan Smith Tuesday during the decorating of the World Peace Kannon statue following the Peace Day bell ringing at the Kaua‘i Soto Zen Temple Zenshuji in Hanapepe.

As the morning swallowed up the remaining notes of the Kaua‘i Soto Zen Temple Zenshuji gongs on Peace Day, Mark Jeffers of The Storybook Theatre of Hawai‘i approached the World Peace Kannon statue Tuesday.

Selecting two strings of Japanese paper cranes, or tsuru, created by students in Westside Kaua‘i schools, Jeffers left with the strings of cranes fluttering in the winds blowing off the Kalaheo plateau.

“These are for Sparky,” Jeffers said, returning to the Peace Garden at the Storybook Theatre, where the life-sized statue of the late U.S. Sen. Spark Matsunaga resides.

The decorating of Sparky, considered a great peacemaker, ties in with the decorating of the World Peace Kannon statue that resides next to the Bodhi tree at the temple.

Gerald Hirata said the decorating, and making the decorated statue available for viewing by the public, is the physical manifestation of Peace Day, to allow people to have something to ground their spirit of peace.

Youth are traditionally involved in Peace Day observances because the actions and effort of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission Young Buddhists of America were instrumental to the state Legislature enacting legislation that gave Hawai‘i the distinction of being the first state in the nation to celebrate Peace Day as established by the United Nations General Assembly.

The decorated statue with more than 3,000 youth-created cranes and its accompanying enhancing illumination is available for people to enjoy from dusk until 8 p.m. now through Sunday evening. The statue is also available for viewing during the daylight hours for those traveling in the neighborhood of the temple.

“We say 8 p.m. closure because this is the endangered seabird fledging season that started Sept. 15,” one of the church volunteers said. “The Department of Land and Natural Resources officials said the young birds start making their way to the ocean starting from around 8 p.m. so our lights have to be out by then.”

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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