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Hiroshima Mayor to Commemorate 50 Years of Sister-City Relationship with Honolulu
HONOLULU (June 25) – The Mayor of Hiroshima, the Honorable Tadatoshi Akiba, will commemorate 50 years of the sister-city relationship between Hiroshima and Honolulu at a special luncheon presentation on Wednesday, July 8.

In addition to the mayor’s presentation, there will be Japanese musical entertainment and a special photo exhibit centering on Sadako Sasaki, the young Hiroshima atomic bombing victim who famously folded 1,000 cranes for peace before she died from radiation-induced leukemia.

The luncheon will be held at the East-West Center’s Hawai‘i Imin International Conference Center (Jefferson Hall, 1777 East-West Road). Registration begins at 11:30 a.m., with the luncheon presentation commencing at noon. Cost for the event is $30 for co-sponsor members and $35 for the general public.

For reservations or information, contact (808) 944-7111, or [email protected] . Reservations are requested by Thurs., July 2.

Limited parking is available on the grass area between Imin Center and Lincoln Hall for a flat fee of $4, payable by advance registration. Hourly parking is also available on the UH Manoa campus.

The event is sponsored by The East-West Center, City and County of Honolulu, Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Japan America Society of Hawaii, Hiroshima Hawaii Sister State Committee, Honolulu Hiroshima Kenjin Kai, Wahiawa Waialua Hiroshima Kenjin Kai, Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, United Japanese Society of Hawaii, University of Hawai‘i — Center for Japanese Studies, Pacific and Asian Affairs Council, and the Friends of the East-West Center.

Background :

Honolulu and Hiroshima have been sister cities since June 15, 1959, and Hiroshima was Honolulu’s first sister city. Hawaii’s people have strong historic ties to Hiroshima as well, since an estimated one-third of the Japanese emigrants who came to Hawaii in the late 1800s to work in the sugar industry came from the Hiroshima area.

The relationship between the two cities grew from the “People to People Program” established by President Eisenhower in the 1950s to promote peace and mutual understanding between citizens in various countries.

Each year, Hiroshima sends an official delegation to the cross-cultural Honolulu Festival, and Hiroshima also celebrates “Honolulu Day” each November. In 1985 the Prefecture of Hiroshima presented Honolulu with the Hiroshima Peace Bell.

In 2001, the Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Hiroshima Prefecture, and the City of Hiroshima presented to the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce a replica of the torii gate at Hiyajima, a World Heritage Site, as a symbol of everlasting friendship. In 2002, the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce presented the torii gate to the City and County of Honolulu. The 26-foot-high structure now stands at the intersection of King and Beretania streets, in Moiliili.

The Honorable Tadatoshi Akiba became Mayor of the City of Hiroshima in February 1999, and is currently serving in his third consecutive term. Prior to this position, Akiba served for nine years as a member of Japan’s House of Representatives. Before entering politics (and concurrently at times), he served in the world of academia for nearly thirty years, as a professor of humanities at Hiroshima Shudo University and in the U.S. as a professor at Tufts University and a research instructor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a M.S. in Mathematics from the University of Tokyo.

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The EAST-WEST CENTER is an education and research organization established by the U.S. Congress in 1960 to strengthen relations and understanding among the peoples and nations of Asia, the Pacific, and the United States. The Center contributes to a peaceful, prosperous and just Asia Pacific community by serving as a vigorous hub for cooperative research, education and dialogue on critical issues of common concern to the Asia Pacific region and the United States. Funding for the Center comes from the U.S. government, with additional support provided by private agencies, individuals, foundations, corporations, and the governments of the region.