Programs & Services > Geriatric Care Services > Kuakini Remembers Japanese Immigrants

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Kuakini perpetuates the memory of early Japanese immigrants

The memorial service was held on May 27 at 9:30 a.m. at a Kuakini Columbarium at the Honolulu Memorial Park Cemetery in Nuuanu in remembrance of the 141 former Kuakini Home residents who were issei or first generation plantation sugar workers. 
The Buddhist tradition of paying respect and expressing gratitude to loved ones who have passed away is called obon or bon. The Tendai Mission has been performing the obon ceremony for Kuakini residents since 1997. 
The Kuakini Medical Center Auxiliary coordinates the remembrance ceremony with Tendai Mission. Employees of Kuakini spruce up the columbarium and members of the Auxiliary bring flowers.  
The plot was donated to Kuakini by Monte Richards, Sr. of Honolulu Memorial Park in 1960 in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrant workers in Hawaii. Sam Sasano of Stonecraft Memorial donated the columbarium. Before that, the urns of the departed residents were kept in the Kuakini Home chapel. The last person was inurned in the columbarium on May 4, 1990.
Kuakini Home (then known as the Japanese Home of Hawaii) started in 1932 to provide shelter for the retired immigrants who had no families to care for them. 
The Kuakini Auxiliary is a volunteer organization with more than 400 members. It started in 1889 as the Women’s Benevolent Society to help serve the needs of Kuakini’s patients. The organization provides service and support to Kuakini through fundraising events and different supplementary duties that help patients, their families and the hospital staff.