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Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on September 21st. The United Nations General Assembly has devoted this day to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

A celebration of peace will take place in "Kauai's Biggest Little Town" of Hanapepe, to commemorate and continue the legacy of two local residents whose visions for peace left an indelible mark in our community.

[1] Senator Spark Matsunaga (1916-1990) was born and raised on Kaua'i, attended Eleele School, Kauai High School, University of Hawai'i, and Harvard University. During his many years as a Congressman, he was a longtime proponent of peaceful resolution of disputes and is the founder of the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. A statue of Matsunaga stands in Sparky's Garden, at the Storybook Theater in Hanapepe town.

[2] Reverend Koichi Miyoshi, a resident minister of the Kaua'i Soto Zen Temple from 1971 to 1998, envisioned a symbol of peace where people would come and pledge that there will be no war on this earth, pray for peace, and remember all who gave their lives in the pursuit of peace. A "World Peace Kannon" marble statue stands on the temple grounds in Hanapepe since 1991. Rev. Miyoshi felt that the island of Kaua'i, with its beauty and tranquility, was the perfect setting for this statue.

What: "Pledge for Peace" When: Thursday, September 21, 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm Where: Soto Zen Temple, Hanapepe, Kaua'i, 1-3500 Kaumuali'i Highway

Everyone is welcomed and attendance is free to the public. The students of Eleele School will have a morning event at the temple from 9-11 am.

The 4th grade students will gather at the Storybook Theater, march from Sparky's Garden to the World Peace statue and join the other students to place paper cranes and pledges for peace around the statue. From 12 noon to 5:30 pm, visitors are encouraged to stop by and make a wish for peace, fold paper cranes and enjoy a cool drink under the tent. The evening program will begin shortly thereafter. Everyone will be encouraged to wear a "Pledge for Peace" button.

Program of Entertainment Guest speaker, Senator Ron Kouchi; taiko, hula, Eleele School students, sharing stories of peace with Mark Jeffers and Gerald Hirata, a student display of peace through art, poetry, prose. Also, living in peace with nature: Harmony and Melody's Humpback for World Peace.

Activities: Folding paper cranes and decorating the Peace statue, writing personal messages of peace and tying it on a peace tree at the base of the statue. Food and drinks: All donations will benefit Eleele School 4th Graders for an excursion to the Big Island. Hosting organizations: Eleele School, Storybook Theatre, Kaua'i Soto Zen Temple, Dow AgroSciences Contact: Gerald Hirata 808-346-4650 kauaisotzen@gmail.com

Fukushima Ondo
at 2014 Bon Dance

This local signature dance traces its origins to Fukushima prefecture in Japan.


In this 24-minute video, Gerald Hirata opens the dance with a welcoming address. Shariraimon Sutra by Rev. Kokuzo, and taiko performed by Taiko Kauai.

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