Did you Know?

Since the arrival of the Okinawans to Hawaii in 1900 their many accomplishments have been a source of great pride. They have overcome many adversities and have taught their children and children’s children the virtues of hard work, honesty, and helping one another.

With this in mind, DID YOU KNOW?

• That on January 8, 1900, the first 26 immigrants arrived in Hawaii to work at Ewa Plantation.

• That in 1909 Zempan Arakawa, an immigrant from Nishihara, opened Arakawa’s in Waipahu.

• That in 1913 Shigeru Serikaku (Jitchaku) a mechanic in Waipahu, built and successfully test-flew the first plane built and flown in Hawaii.

• That in 1929 Ed Kushi of Puunene, Maui was the first Okinawan nisei to graduate from the University of Hawaii;

• That Tsuruko Ohye was the first Okinawan female to graduate from the University of Hawaii;

• That in 1931 Matsuju Yamashiro was the first American trained physician to graduate from Iowa State Medical School;

• That by 1941 about 81% of restaurants in Honolulu were owned by Okinawans;

• That at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, Yoshinobu Oyakawa, won the gold medal and set a new Olympic record in the hundred meter backstroke;

• That in July 1946, 4,000 POWs being held in Hawaii were returned to Okinawa;

• That in November 1948 Matsuki Arashiro from Kauai was the first Okinawan to be elected to the Territorial House of Representatives;

• That in 1949 the first Times Supermarket opened in McCully;

• That Kenji Yamashiro was the highest ranked Okinawan sumotori in Hawaii;

• That Warren Higa, Waipahu High Class of 1959, still holds the 100-yard dash record;

• That Patsy Miyahira Young was the first Okinawan female Legislator;

• That Herbert Matayoshi was the first County Mayor of Okinawan descent;

• That Seian Hokama (1964-65) and his son Isaac (1991-92) are the only father-son pair to serve as Presidents of HUOA;

• That two pairs of siblings served as Presidents of HUOA - Chozen (1954-55) and Choki (1958-59) Kanetake and Peter (1975-76) and James (2001) Iha.

• That in the 1940s Chozen Kanetake was a licensed pilot;

• That Shinsuke Nakamine was his class valedictorian at Iolani School. He was also the first Okinawan President of the United Japanese Society;

• That in 1991 Seisho Nakasone traveled to Washington, D. C. to receive the National Heritage Fellowship Award from the National Endowment of the Arts. That in 2001, at the age of 89, he had a hole-in-one at the MidPac Country Club;

• That Keo Nakama, former State House Representative, won five gold medals in swimming at the 1940 Pan American Games and was the first person to swim across the Molokai Channel (1961);

• That in 1991, the Kaneshiro Conservatory Tropical Greenhouse at the National Arboretum in Washington D.C. was named for Bonsai Master Haruo "Papa" Kaneshiro.

• That Chikai Yosemori is the first Okinawan Bishop of Honpa Hongwanji of Hawaii.

Every achievement or event involving an Okinawan in Hawaii is of equal importance and interest to the Okinawan community. The above is a collection of diverse achievements and events. There are countless more.