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