The Japanese Community Association of Hawai’i observed its Annual Ireito Memorial Service at ‘Alae Cemetery on Sunday, August 23, 2020 from 2:00 pm.
The video of the service is available on demand at Na Leo TV website:
This was a modified memorial service during COVID-19 Worldwide Pandemic with restrictive measures enforced.
This observance marked the 81st year of the Annual Ireisai Hoyo Memorial Service. This service is to honor our Issei, first generation Japanese immigrants. These contracted plantation workers endured a harsh life in Hawai’i, in order to provide a better life and opportunity for our future. The spirit of sincere appreciation for the courage shown and sacrifices made by those who established the foundation for the liberties and opportunities we now take for granted. Honoring our immigrants as an essential part of life.
“A monument paying tribute to our immigrant pioneers, honoring those who have departed before us and giving those who still remain a sense of closeness and belonging”, commented JCAH President Michael Miyahira. “We are also honoring two Japanese sailors who died at sea and are buried at ‘Alae Cemetery”.
The Ireito Memorial was the inspiration and was initiated by the late Hawai’i Territorial Senator Sanji Abe. Senator Abe appreciated the immigrant’s unselfish contribution and was grateful for their accomplishments and wished to comfort their spirits. This thankfulness is expressed in the Ireito Monument that stands today in ‘Alae Cemetery.
The service was a joint effort between the Japanese Community Association and the Big Island Buddhist Federation, Toban Temple was Higashi Hongwanji Mission. Reverend Marcus J. Sawada lead the memorial service.