Children from Japan learn about America, family at Schofield Barracks

Jason Honeycutt
Jason Honeycutt
Amie Honeycutt
Amie Honeycutt

By Leland Kim - bio | email

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS (KHNL) - Four orphans from Japan got a taste of American culture Thursday at Schofield Barracks.  They're guests of the 27th Infantry Regiment's Wolfhounds, who are continuing a tradition started almost 60 years ago.

The guests from Japan and other Schofield kids enjoyed an afternoon barbecue and fun games with their parents.  I's part of a weeklong event, celebrating a partnership between the Wolfhounds and an orphanage in Japan.

It's a typical All-American afternoon, Hawaiian style.  These kids learn the ancient art of hula, as their parents take pictures.

But in the group are four kids who are, not only new to hula, they're new to America.  Shun-Pei, Taiki, Emiri, and Mika arrived from Japan on Monday, orphans on a weeklong trip to Hawaii.

"I talked to my wife Amie about it and we both agreed that it was something that we would like to do if given the chance and opportunity," said Army Capt. Jason Honeycutt.  "If we were here, we would like to take part in the program."

The girls are staying with the Honeycutts and their two daughters.  Shy at first, Emiri and Mika have really blossomed.

"They came home and they just opened up," said Amie Honeycutt, Capt. Honeycutt's wife. "They both have such a light inside them."

At that light shines today, as they take part in fun activities with their new surrogate siblings.

"With children, play is universal, even though there's a language barrier, they understand other kids and what it's like to have other kids to play with," said Amie Honeycutt.

Even the most common activities seem like the world to them.

"I make dinner and they're so excited and just, 'Yummy, yummy,'" said Amie Honeycutt.  "Few words that they do know in English, it comes across their appreciation."

And they show their appreciation through the universal language of dance.  They prepared this especially for Thursday's event.

The Honeycutts say they've also learned from the kids, and are proud to be part of the Wolfhounds ohana.

"I think it's something when we leave Hawaii, and move on with the Army, it's something that we're going to look back on and we'll always going to say, we're proud to be a part of this," said Capt. Honeycutt.

The partnership with the Holy Family Home orphanage is in its 59th year, and it's the longest military-civilian partnership in the history of the U.S. Army.  The Wolfhounds say they're proud to keep that tradition alive.