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Katsu Goto Memorial Service (Aug. 23)


State Rep. Mark Nakashima, a member of the Katsu Goto Memorial Service Committee, announced today that there will be a Katsu Goto Memorial Ceremony on the Big Island commemorating the life of the revered leader who was a liaison between Hawaii’s first immigrant contract laborers and plantation management.

When: 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012
Where: Hamakua Jodo Mission
44-2947 Kalopa Road, Honoka‘a, HI

The commemorative service will mark the 127th anniversary of the arrival of the late Katsu Goto to Hawaii. He was aboard the ship, “City of Tokio”, the first of 26 shiploads of “Kanyaku Imin”, or government contract laborers. The ship landed in Hawaii on February 8, 1885.

Goto was one of tens of thousands of men and women who left behind family, friends and their homeland for the Hawaiian Islands to seek their fortunes. He was assigned to work on Ookala Plantation along the Hamakua Coast. After his three-year contract was fulfilled, he chose to stay and opened up a successful general store in the town of Honokaa.

Goto became a liaison between the Japanese laborers and plantation management because of his leadership skills, knowledge of English, and his strong character. He facilitated mediation, served as an interpreter, and advocated for improved working conditions.

Katsu Goto’s Japanese-Hawaii immigrant experience is one of hardship, injustice, success and ultimately tragedy. In summary, the story of Katsu Goto’s life is a cultural legacy for us today and for future generations of Hawaii residents.

Hidehiko Yuzaki, Governor of Hiroshima Prefecture in Japan; Masao Hayashi, Hiroshima Prefectural Assembly President; and a delegation of officials from Hiroshima prefecture will be traveling to Hawaii to attend the Memorial Service.

The public is welcomed to attend the service to honor Katsu Goto as well.

The Katsu Goto Memorial Service Committee members are Masayoshi Nishimori of Hamakua Jodo Mission; Patsy Iwasaki of the University of Hawaii, Hilo Campus and the author of the graphic novel on Katsu Goto, “Hamakua Hero: A True Plantation Story”; Wayne Miyao of the Hiroshima-Hawaii Sister State Committee; and Rep. Mark Nakashima.

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