Kaua‘i-Ishigaki Sister City Reaffirmation Ceremony held Tuesday
Published on July 25, 2023
LĪHUʻE – A special ceremony was held Tuesday at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall, to reaffirm the resolution between Kaua‘i County and Ishigaki City, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, as affiliated sister cities. This year also marks the 60th anniversary since Kaua‘i County and Ishigaki City established a sister city relationship which was signed in May 1963.
The reaffirmation resolution was signed by Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami and the Mayor of Ishigaki, Mayor Yoshitaka Nakayama.
“My heart is overflowing with gratitude as I stand before you today as Mayor to reaffirm a promise made to each other 60 years ago. A promise to share our rich cultural heritage, exchange our knowledge through education, strengthen our economics in which we share a vibrant visitor industry, and honor our foundation which was built on the backs of our farmers,” said Mayor Kawakami during his speech. “But beyond those common denominators, our relationship was started and nurtured many years ago by some people who are not with us anymore. In a sense, this ceremony is in honor of them for if it had not been for the people that came before Mayor Nakayama and I, this brotherhood, this sisterhood, this bond would not exist.”
Tuesday’s program included performances by Kumu Hula Troy Allen Hinano Lazaro and Hālau Ka Pā Hula O Hīnano, Shannon Daliva, Hui Alu – Kaua‘i Okinawan Club, and Hawaiian slack key music by Paul Togioka.
A delegation of 25 traveled from Ishigaki to Kaua‘i for this occasion, including Ishigaki Mayor Yoshitaka Nakayama and five council members, who will also participate in the statewide Hawai‘i-Japan Sister State and Sister City Summit on O‘ahu this week. Local dignitaries, government officials, and county associates were also in attendance.
“Although Kaua‘i and Ishigaki are physically far apart, almost 4,800 miles away, it is the many friendship exchanges that have kept our special relationship together until today. It is because of the help and hard work of Mayor Kawakami and the many important Kaua‘i people of the past who have brought us together. Now and again, I humbly extend my gratitude and respect to you,” said Mayor Nakayama through an interpreter at the event. “For the citizens of Ishigaki, this 60th anniversary is an honor and a precious resource which is deeply imbedded in their hearts.”
Art and Michiru Umezu served as interpreters for the Japanese-speaking participants, and emceed the event which was hosted by the county’s Office of Economic Development.
The County of Kaua‘i and the City of Ishigaki share an exceptionally rich heritage and lifestyle through the immigration of people to Kaua‘i who worked in the sugar plantations. Tuesday’s signing displays a mutual reaffirmation that will contribute to the future prosperity of both islands and people by fostering and enhancing friendship, respect, and trust between citizens.