HONOLULU – The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii (JCCH) was proud to officially open the new Honouliuli National Monument – JCCH Education Center on Oct. 22 with Shintō and Buddhist blessings and congratulatory remarks from some of Hawaii’s elected officials.
Families of former Honouliuli incarcerees were in attendance to witness the blessing and dedication. Dignitaries taking part in the ribbon-cutting included Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz and former Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.
The new education center, located in the JCCH Community Gallery in Moiliili, adjoins the permanent exhibition on the history of Japanese in Hawaii and features photos of the Honouliuli Internment Camp, artifacts from the internees, oral history videos and virtual tours of the Honouliuli National Monument. The center provides students, teachers and the community an opportunity to learn more about the new national monument, its history and lessons for the future.
“The Honouliuli Education Center at the JCCH will be a gathering place for students, teachers, the local community and visitors to learn about the unique wartime experience of Japanese Americans in Hawaii,” said Carole Hayashino, president and executive director of the JCCH. “It will be a place for us to reflect upon the lessons of war, civil liberties, peace and reconciliation.”
Since rediscovering the site in 2002, the JCCH has worked to preserve the historical site as a national monument. In addition to successfully preserving the site, the JCCH produced a documentary film, “The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawaii,” translated and published two memoirs written by former internees, produced a curriculum guide for high school social studies teachers and distributed the curriculum resources to high schools throughout the state.
The Honouliuli National Monument – JCCH Education Center is the result of a partnership between the JCCH and the Freeman Foundation, Monsanto Hawaii, and JTB Hawaii Inc.
“It has been an honor to partner with JCCH on this initiative and we’re very proud to see the Honouliuli Education Center come to fruition,” said Alan Takemoto, community affairs manager at Monsanto Hawaii. “Monsanto’s commitment to preserving the Honouliuli Internment Camp site began more than seven years ago when we first purchased the land in Kunia, and we look forward to continuing the momentum of raising awareness about this important piece of history through JCCH’s many education initiatives.”
Admission to the education center is free and open to the public. Regular business hours for the new education center will be Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The JCCH, a nonprofit organization, strives to strengthen Hawaii’s diverse community by educating present and future generations in the evolving Japanese American experience. Founded on May 28, 1987, it has more than 5,000 members and annually connects to more than 50,000 residents and visitors through its programs and events.
The center features a historical museum, the Tokioka Heritage Resource Center, the Kenshikan martial arts dōjō, the Seikōan Japanese teahouse, and a gift shop. For more information, call (808) 945-7633, email [email protected] or visit the website at www.jcch.com.