Honolulu’s Hiroshima association sends face masks to their ancestral place Hiroshima Prefecture

As the 65th anniversary gifts, the Honolulu Hiroshima Kenjin Kai sent face masks featuring their logo to representatives of Hiroshima Prefecture and Hiroshima City: Left, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum staff in front of entrance; Right, Gov. Hidehiko Yuzaki.

The Honolulu Hiroshima Kenjin Kai (HHKK) created face masks featuring their club’s logo for members, friends and supporters in an effort to keep them safe and healthy.  As it was believed that their HHKK face masks might be accepted as gifts or “omiyage,” the officers and directors of this kenjin kai, which commemorated its 65th anniversary of its establishment in 2020, sent their face masks to the people of Hiroshima Prefecture.

In late February, 200 HHKK face masks were sent to Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki, the Prefectural Assembly and other Prefectural leaders and staff.  Similarly, another 200 face masks were mailed to Hiroshima City Mayor Kazumi Matsui, the Hiroshima City Council, other City leaders and staff and city-related organizations including the Hiroshima Memorial Peace Museum and even Hiroshima’s professional baseball team, the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.

Additionally, 50 HHKK face masks were distributed to the Tokyo Hiroshima-Ken People’s Organization, which is their “sister” kenjin kai.

According to HHKK President Wayne Miyao, the response from these Hiroshima government as well as our “sister” kenjin kai has been overwhelming positive.  Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki said, “I was deeply touched by all of your kindhearted thoughtfulness, and it once again reminded me of the deep friendships that we have fostered.”  Mayor Kazumi Matsui remarked, “The mask is really good because it is light and comfortable to wear.  The color black has a strong impact and looks cool.”  Other comments include:  “I like the replica of the Miyajima Island torii!,” and “The mask will inspire me to remember and think of the people in Hawaii.”

Miyao commented, “Our HHKK face masks were sent to the Hiroshima Prefectural Government and Hiroshima City Government as a token of our appreciation for the many programs and activities we have conducted with them over the years.  Additionally, our face masks will offer protection and safety to them.  Finally, it is our hope that our HHKK face masks will serve as a reminder of their friends in Honolulu and the State of Hawaii.”

Regarding the face masks sent to the Tokyo Hiroshima-Ken People’s Organization, President Miyao elaborated, “We established this “sister” kenjin kai relationship in January of 2020.  Unfortunately, with the threat of the corona virus pandemic starting in March 2020, we could not Implement several programs which we wanted to initiate in 2020 and this year.  Our gift of our HHKK face masks will help us to re-establish our budding relationship with this organization.”

The HHKK face masks was produced by world renown apparel maker Hilo Hatties.  The face masks are anti-bacterial fashion masks made of heavy polyester (or spandex) and is machine washable for re-use.  The HHKK face masks are black in color and contains an imprint of the HHKK logo.

The HHKK face masks will be offered for sale soon.  Further information on price, distribution and availability is forthcoming.

Miyao concluded his remarks by saying, “We hope our HHKK face masks will be accepted and used by our friends in Hiroshima and Tokyo.  We encourage other organizations to share our spirit of Aloha with their counterparts and friends in Japan.”

Background Information

The Honolulu Hiroshima Kenjin Kai (HHKK) was established in 1955 by first- and second-generation immigrants from Hiroshima Prefecture.  Its original and continuing purposes are to promote and perpetuate the unique customs and traditions of Hiroshima.  The HHKK has an active membership of more than 500 families and implements annual programs/causes as okonomiyaki sale, new year’s/general membership meeting and banquet, family picnic, Hiroshima Commemoration and Peace Service (on August 6), international youth exchange program and cleaning of the Ehime Maru Memorial in Kakaako and Hiroshima torii gate in Moiliili.

The State of Hawaii and Hiroshima Prefecture have numerous “sister” relationships including:

  • The City and County of Honolulu and the City of Honolulu established a sister “city” relationship in 1959
  • The Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce and the Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce and Industry created a sister “chamber” relationship in 1980
  • The State of Hawaii and Hiroshima Prefecture established a sister “state” relationship on May 30, 1997

The Tokyo Hiroshima-Ken People’s Association (THKPA), founded in 1947, is believed to be the largest Hiroshima-focused organization outside of Hiroshima Prefecture with more than 1,300 business members.  After two years of meetings, a sister “kenjin kai” relationship was established between the THKPA and the HHKK on January 22, 2020.

Hilo Hattie, which opened in 1963, is proud to be the world’s largest manufacturer, distributor and retailer of “Made In Hawaii” fashions, foods, gifts, jewelry and more.