Thursday, February 23, 2012

Legislators Honor "Living Treasures"

Since 1976, the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawai'i has, through its Living Treasures Program, honored individuals who have demonstrated excellence in their fields and who have made lifelong and significant contributions toward creating a more humane society. During yesterday's House Session, legislators took the time to recognize and thank five of our kupuna for their lifelong contributions to the state of Hawai'i.

Newly sworn-in Rep. Heather Giugni greets Goro Arakawa.
In addition to being a civic leader and accomplished businessman, Columbia University Business School graduate Goro Arakawa helped found Hawaii's Plantation Village in Waipahu. Mr. Arakawa ran the iconic Arakawa's of Waipahu store, which was opened by his Okinawan immigrant grandfather Zenpan in 1909, until its closing in 1995. 

Rep. Henry Aquino thanks Barbara Fusako Kawakami for her contributions to Hawai'i.
Barbara Fusako Kawakami has dedicated her life to preserving Japanese culture and traditions in Hawai'i. Forced to drop out of school after 8th grade for economic reasons, Mrs. Kawakami would eventually earn her Master of Arts in Asian Studies from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa at the age of 53. She has authored several books and is best known for her expertise in Japanese immigrant clothing, picture brides in Hawai'i, and for sewing rank and awards on thousands of military uniforms. 

Rep. Scott Nishimoto with Dr. Ben Finney and his wife, Mila
Co-Founder of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, Dr. Ben Finney is known as the creator of the Hokulea and its predecessor, the Nalehia.  In addition to being an authority on Polynesian navigation, Dr. Finney is also recognized as surfing's premier historian.

Rep. Keith-Agaran with Lynette Kahekili Paglinawan
Lynette Kahekili Paglinawan, a key force in the Hawaiian renaissance, perpetuates Hawaiian culture through music and practices ho'oponopono, a traditional Hawaiian form of conflict resolution.
Gordon Mark is joined by fellow Living Treasure, Barbara Fusako Kawakami and Rep. Marcus Oshiro 
Ukulele virtuoso Gordon Mark has compiled a repertoire of more than 1,000 songs fusing Hawaiian and Western classical music.

In addition to bringing up fond memories of the Hawai'i of the past, having these Living Treasures on the House floor supplied the Capitol with pure Aloha. Mahalo nui loa to Goro Arakawa, Barbara Fusako Kawakami, Dr. Ben Finney, Lynette Kahekili Paglinawan, and Gordon Mark for enriching Hawaii's past, enhancing its present, and inspiring its future. 

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