Maui High’s Japanese Club Wins 16th Annual Maui Mikoshi Design Contest

March 4, 2019, 1:11 PM HST · Updated March 4, 1:11 PM
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Maui High School’s Japanese Club has won the 16th annual Maui Mikoshi Design Contest. Courtesy image.

Maui High School’s Japanese Club has won the 16th annual Maui Mikoshi Design Contest, a program of the 25th annual Honolulu Festival, and will display its cultural artistry at the Hawaii Convention Center and Waikiki Grand Parade this weekend.

A mikoshi is a traditional decorative float that is unique to specific districts and prefectures in Japan and is often presented at special events and ceremonies.

Each year since the Maui Mikoshi Design Contest was initiated in 2004, student clubs and community organizations on Maui have designed and submitted their group’s mikoshi into the islandwide competition, with the winning design and club showcased at the Honolulu Festival.

Judges from the Honolulu Festival Foundation selected Maui High School’s design based on how it aligned with the theme of the 25th annual Honolulu Festival, “Looking Back to Create the Future: 25 Years of Aloha.”

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“The students at Maui High School created a very touching mikoshi that captured the struggle, hopes and dreams of the first wave of Issei (Japanese immigrants) in Hawaii,” commented Tsukasa Harufuku, president of the Honolulu Festival Foundation. “We are very proud to prominently display their mikoshi for the residents and visitors to see and appreciate at the Honolulu Festival.”

Maui High School’s mikoshi design incorporated various symbols to share the story of the Japanese experience in Hawai‘i. The design includes ripples on the roof representing the ocean and sacrifices made by the Issei to reach Hawaii and start a new life. Cranes perched on the roof convey hope and healing, and an emblem reading “chouju” signifies longevity and represents the ongoing legacy of the early immigrants and sharing of cultures that shapes Hawaii.

“We are very excited to participate in this year’s parade,” said Etsuko Nagahama, Maui High School’s Japanese language instructor. “This is an amazing opportunity for our students to showcase their hard work and help share the story of the determination and hope of the first Japanese immigrants in Hawaii.”

Members of Maui High School’s Japanese Club will fly to O‘ahu to participate in the Honolulu Festival and showcase their mikoshi this weekend, March 9 and 10, both at the Hawaii Convention Center and by carrying the mikoshi through Waikiki during the Grand Parade.

For additional information about this award-winning mikoshi, go online.

ABOUT THE HONOLULU FESTIVAL

Supported by the Honolulu Festival Foundation, Hawaii Tourism Authority, and corporate sponsors, the 25th annual Honolulu Festival features a weekend of arts and cultural displays and entertainment performances for all to enjoy, March 9-10. Performances will be presented at four locations, the Hawaii Convention Center, Ala Moana Center, Waikiki Beach Walk and International Market Place. Admission is free. The festival will culminate on March 10 with the Waikiki Grand Parade, starting at 4:30 p.m., and a spectacular 25-minute Nagaoka Fireworks Show over Waikiki Beach starting at 8:30 p.m.

With the theme of “Looking Back to Create the Future: 25 Years of Aloha,” the Honolulu Festival’s goal is to celebrate the cultural and ethnic ties of people from Hawaii and nations worldwide. The Honolulu Festival Foundation supports educational and cultural programs for the benefit of Hawaii’s school children and the community-at-large through public outreach and charitable efforts. For more information, please visit www.honolulufestival.com.

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