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Margaret Torigoe

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Our mailing address is:
Hui Okinawa
PO Box 1793
Hilo, Hawaii 96721-1793

Telephone: 808.895.0994

Hui Okinawa
Hui Okinawa was started in 1946 shortly after the end of World War II. One of the main purposes of our organization is to work together to preserve, and perpetuate the Okinawan culture, and to work with the community for the betterment of our multi-ethnic population.

Other goals/purposes of the organization are to foster fellowship among the members of the organization and among the various groups having varied cultural, ethnological and racial backgrounds; promote educational, charitable and benevolent causes: to render service to the local, state and international community, conduct public discussion groups, forums panels, lectures or other similar programs; to conduct Okinawan cultural programs, arts and crafts, exhibits, demonstrations, and athletic and social activities; and to disseminate Okinawan cultural and historical information via various media services.

Hui Okinawa has approximately 450 member families (totaling approximately 700 individuals) and it is one of the largest ethnic/cultural clubs on the Big Island. Hui Okinawa is a 501(c) (3)Non-Profit corporation.

Hui Okinawa is a member club of the umbrella organization, the Hawaii United Okinawa Association (HUOA). The HUOA has approximately 50 clubs statewide totaling approximately 40,000 individual members. The goal of all of HUOA’s activities is to enhance awareness of the Okinawa culture and heritage in Hawaii and to share its richness with others in Hawaii and worldwide. The HUOA plays an important role to foster the Okinawan ethnic identity.

History of Hui Okinawa
By Alma Yogi and Isamu “Ham” Kaneshiro
Hui Okinawa (or Hui Hanalike as it was originally named) was established as a direct cause of World War II. As part of the United States’ military strategy, the US launched the Battle of Okinawa. The islands of Okinawa were needed by the Allied Forces to invade and vanquish the Japanese Empire. More than 200,000 people had been killed and Okinawa was devastated. Important documents, priceless cultural treasurers, homes and farmlands were ravaged and destroyed after months of bombings and air raids. In late 1945 the U.S. Army requested that the people of Hawaii help clothe and feed the people of war-torn Okinawa.

The Uchinanchus of Hawaii responded generously – tons of clothing and canned goods, school supplies, textbooks, money livestock, vegetable and flower seeds were collected and sent to their ancestral homeland.

This mass effort was the beginning of Hui Okinawa. As the niseis of the Big Island worked to collect items for Okinawa, they realized that an organization was needed. In 1946, a nucleus of nisei Uchinanchus met and formally formed Hui Hanalike. The Rev. Stephen Desha of Haili Church suggested the name Hui (Group) Hana (Work) and Like(together) - a group of Okinawans to work together for the betterment of all Uchinanchus on the Big Island and to preserve and perpetuate the Okinawan culture.

In November of 1946, the first set of officers were elected and installed. They held fundraisers and gave scholarships to high school graduates of Okinawan ancestry. In the 1970s and 1980s the club sponsored performances of Okinawan music and dance, held club picnics, shinnen enkai, and keirokais. Lectures on Okinawan culture were also sponsored.

The club’s name was changed to Hui Okinawa in the 1980s. Today, our membership includes about 500 member families. Hui Okinawa still gives scholarships to outstanding high school and university students. Keirokai are still held to honor our elderly members. Classes on Okinawan dance, taiko, sanshin, koto, and cooking have been held for interested club members.

The club has fulfilled its goals of honoring its ancestors, perpetuating its culture and working with the community for the betterment of Hilo’s multi-ethnic population.


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