Descendents Of Hawaii's 1st Immigrants Celebrate

Descendents of Hawaii's 1st immigrants celebrate

A celebratory event was held in Kumamoto, southwestern Japan, to mark the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first group of Japanese immigrants in Hawaii.

Tens of thousands of Japanese people left the Kumamoto region in the early 20th century to cross the Pacific in search of a better life.

Japanese dancers performed a traditional Hawaiian Hula to celebrate the bond between the people of Japan and the descendants of Japanese immigrants in the US.

Japanese emigration started in 1868, when the then Kingdom of Hawaii recruited over 150 Japanese people to work on plantations.

Over the years, many more followed, not only to Hawaii but also to the US mainland.

A photo exhibition was organized by Japanese Americans in Hawaii. The images depict the hardships their ancestors faced during World War Two.

They also illustrate the many achievements made by Japanese immigrants during the decades to follow, in fields from sports to politics.

A female visitor noted that Japan and Hawaii now enjoy a good relationship, but it reminds her they also fought against each other and share a long history.

A US diplomat, Joy Sakurai of Hawaii, says people of Japanese heritage have demonstrated that immigrants can play a positive role in society.

Sakurai said the Japanese brought many interesting things and introduced them in a positive way. She added that local people seem to feel comfortable adopting these new things, so they could possibly be introduced anywhere around the world.