HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Ten years ago, the Navy submarine, U.S.S. Greenville, accidentally sunk a Japanese fishing vessel, The Ehime Maru, killing nine people, including four high school students. The tragedy rocked Hawaii, our military community and Japanese friends. Ramsay Wharton chats with the Ehime Maru Memorial Association about today's memorial service at the site of the memorial at Kakaako Waterfront Park.
The Ehime Maru Memorial Association will be holding a memorial service:
Kakaako Waterfront Park
1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Wednesday, February 9
This February 9 marks the 10th anniversary of the Ehime Maru accident. The service will be simple and secular. Another service will be conducted in Uwajima City, Ehime Prefecture, home port of the Ehime Maru. Ehime Prefecture Governor Tokihiro Nakamura will attend the memorial service in Kakaako, along with Uwajima City Mayor Hirohisa Ishibashi, Uwajima Fisheries High School Principal Kanji Nogami, and forty officials, bereaved family members and friends from Japan. Representatives of the State of Hawaii, City and County of Honolulu, U.S. Pacific Command, and volunteer organizations are also attending the service. Governor Nakamura, Mayor Ishibashi, a representative of the bereaved families, and EMMA President Ed Hawkins are expected to make brief remarks. During the memorial service, wreaths and flowers will be presented by these individuals and other attendees. Following the memorial service, a tree-planting ceremony to mark the occasion and to recognize the good will developed between the people of Ehime and Hawaii will be conducted near the memorial. A similar tree-planting ceremony will be conducted on the same day in Uwajima City.
In years since, the community has reacted positively to honoring the memory of those who were lost and to maintain and strengthen U.S.-Japan relations through creation of new ties. Community volunteer groups have stepped up to generously clean the memorial every weekend. The St. Louis School Japanese Club has been a lead volunteer group as it cleans the memorial every third Saturday of the month. Other groups include: Wahiawa Nikkei Civic Association, Wahiawa Waialua Hiroshima Kenjinkai, Mililani Buddhist Women's Association, Wahiawa Lions Club, Soroptimists of Central Oahu, Zonta Club of Leilehua.
Good will programs between Ehime and Hawaii have been established by supporters and benefactors and these include Ehime-Hawaii Baseball youth exchange, sister schools, and the annual summer internship for University of Hawaii students at the Ehime Prefecture International Center.
The Ehime Maru Memorial Association which promotes Ehime-Hawaii relations is affiliated with the Japan-America Society of Hawaii.