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UH-Hilo Japanese Student Association to present ‘Sound of Peace’

The University of Hawaii at Hilo Japanese Student Association will present “Sound of Peace: Before and During WWII in Hawaii,” featuring movies and music, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at in the large lecture room, UCB100, and the Campus Plaza.

The event, which honors Japanese peacemakers (such as nisei Shigeo Yoshida) in Hawaii in 1941, includes a lecture with movies about the peace movement between the nations before and during World War II, as well as information about the Hawaii Morale Section during the war and Takarazuka Revue (Takarazuka Kagekidan), a Japanese all-female musical theater troupe (40 dancers and singers). The troupe performed in Hawaii and the U.S. to promote Japan-U.S. friendship in 1939, when the conflicts between the nations were getting worse.

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A film documentary also will be shown. “The First Battle: The Battle for Equality in War-Time Hawaii” details nisei who were fighting against discrimination and war in Hawaii after the Japanese Imperial Navy attacked the U.S. base at the Pearl Harbor in 1945.

The movie focuses on what happened in Hawaii before and during WWII. The movie shows why Japanese people were treated very differently in Hawaii and the mainland U.S. before and during the war. About 120,000 mainland U.S. Japanese were sent to internment camps, but fewer than 3,000 Japanese were arrested and sent to camps in Hawaii.

Masafumi Honda, the program director of Japanese Studies in the Department of Languages at UH-Hilo, explains that Japanese immigrants (issei) and their children (nisei) have built a community in which different ethnic groups could coexist since the first Japanese immigrants (gannenmono) came to Hawaii in 1868 despite discrimination and hardship caused by the war between Japan (issei’s home country) and the U.S. (nisei’s home country).

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There also will be a musical show at the Campus Plaza showcasing a peace concert by Asuka Horiuchi, a former Takarazuka singer from Japan, pianist Natsuko Uchida and flute player Yumi Asakawa. Local music groups, Taishji Taiko club and Okinawa Koto club, will join the concert.

Finally, there will be giant calligraphy display at UCB 100 and Campus Plaza.