Japanese orphans visit Oahu

Tanya Webb
Tanya Webb
Yuko O'Reilly
Yuko O'Reilly

By Kristine Uyeno - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Today, four children from Japan arrived in Honolulu for a special visit.

They're orphans from Osaka and the Wolfhounds 27th Infantry Regiment of Schofield Barracks, have brought them here as part of the 52nd annual tradition.

They arrived to a foreign place, with strange faces, but a lot of aloha.

"It was just a great opportunity. We're just blessed to be able to take them into our home and share with them the Aloha spirit," said Tanya Webb.

Families, like the Webb's, are hosting them.

"This experience all those children have, they'll never forget the rest of their lives," said Yuko O'Reilly, wife of the late, Sergeant Hugh O'Reilly, who was one of the Wolfhounds who visited Holy Family Home in Osaka after World War II and began helping them.

This unbroken tradition shows the children what island life is all about.

"To the Polynesian Cultural Center, and they're gonna get some ukulele lessons at Kualoha and we'll probably take them to our favorite restaurant, Leilei's at Turtle Bay and take them to the beach and spend some time on the North Shore where we live," said David Webb, host.

The Webb's are opening their doors to the girls, Izumi and Chihiro, who talks about what she's looking forward to.

"Swimming," she says through an interpreter.

Although they seem nervous now, these kids will likely have a difficult time saying goodbye.

"And they grasp my hand and they say 'kaeru no ii', which means i don't want to go home, and if that doesn't make you cry, i don't know what does," said O'Reilly.

The children will only be here for 10 days, but they'll create bonds and memories to last a lifetime.