Just a friendly reminder that 2021 membership dues are being collected. Anyone who is interested or want more information about joining HJM are asked to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Annual maintenance by our vendors have been underway at HJM. We recently had Hilo Fire Extinguishers inspect and service of our fire extinguishers. They are a small, family business out of Keeau and are professional, courteous and very respectful of our temple. If you are looking for a fire extinguisher provider, give them a call!
Hawaiian Telcom also stopped by and did a maintenance check of the phone pole on the property. Thank you to our vendors!
We just added a new “VIDEOS” section to our website! It currently has a gorgeous drone video posted that was submitted by John Arsenault, a visiting friend of HJM. We look forward to adding more videos, so if you have one that you would like to feature on our website, please feel free to contact us on how to submit them.
Over the past few weeks, we have been getting occasional trespassers driving up the driveway and leaving once they see other vehicles there. HJM is on a private driveway so it is highly unlikely these people are lost or made a wrong turn. If you see any suspicious vehicles on the property, please take down their license plate number, description of the vehicle and report it to the police at their non emergency number, (808) 935-3311.
Mahalo to HJM member George Higaki for fertilizing our pineapple patch and keeping an eye on things! His family have been active members of HJM for many generations, starting with his father, Eizuchi, who helped carve the magnificent koa transoms inside the temple. We are very grateful for their contributions to the longevity of HJM and appreciate their help!
HJM received a box of complimentary 2021 Jodo Shu calendars from Japan Headquarters about a week ago. HJM President Masa Nishimori left some inside of the temple, however many are unaware that they are complimentary copies for visitors and members. Please feel free to take a copy during your next visit!
A heartfelt thank you to HJM members Cary Matsumoto and Pickens Kehrer for their grounds keeping kokua! Cary has mowed the front lawn for the past few months and Pickens replaced the broken outdoor toilet for us. An extra special mahalo goes out to 87 year old HJM President Masa Nishimori who washed all the temple windows by himself! We always need help around the property, so please let us know if you are able to volunteer a few hours of your time.
HJM member, Kay Higashi Hunt has a published book about growing up on the Paauhau sugar plantation titled “When The Whistle Blew, It Was Pau Hana”. She included a section about our temple, filled with photos and recollections of her fond childhood memories attending services, Sunday school and more! If you want to order a copy, please click on the link below for more details on how to get this fantastic book:
We were shocked and saddened to hear about the sudden passing of our friend, Marie Kinchla. She was part of the Heritage Center staff and helped our temple tremendously with her researching, archiving, photography, video and artistic skills. Many of the photos that are featured on our two websites were taken by her, such as the group photo of our senior elder members.
Earlier this month, she did the signage for our New Year’s window display at their new location. Although you may have not known her personally, we ask that you take a moment of silence in her honor to show our respect and gratitude for all the hard work she has done to help revitalize interest in our temple. We will miss you, Marie.
Our official website recently celebrated its first anniversary in December. We have been getting visits from all over the world during the past year: from the USA, Netherlands, France, Japan, Germany, South Korea, Canada, India, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Taiwan, Singapore, Austria, Finland and Guam!
If you search “Hamakua Jodo Mission” using the Google search engine, it is currently at the top of their search results. It keeps changing daily, so please keep visiting our website! Thank you to everyone for spreading the word about our website.
And please don’t forget, we also have a HistoryPin website that we collaborated with the Heritage Center, too!
We appreciate your support and continued interest in HJM!
We’d like to wish HJM President Masa Nishimori a Happy 87th Birthday today and many more to come!
If you drive through Honokaa town via Mamane Street, you will see the ground floor commercial space of the Botelho Building being renovated. This will be the home of the new “Honokaa Heritage Center” which will be a research and visitor’s information center filled with exhibits, archives and a gift shop. They were happy to let HJM put a small New Years display in their window featuring one of our kadomatsu arrangements! If you have anything you want to contribute to this display, let us know at: email@example.com
Akemashite Omedeto Gozaimasu!
Check out the new section added to our website called “HJM Visitors’ Page”! If you visited HJM previously, and want to share your photos and experience, please drop us a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Everyone at HJM wishes you a very Merry Christmas!
For the latest on the status of the cesspool conversion project, please click on the “NEWS” section. A drop down menu will then appear. Click on the tab “Cesspool Conversion Update”, and it will give you a brief summarization of what has been transpiring over the past months.
Over the years, HJM has had the pleasure of welcoming visitors to our historic temple. Some of these people have taken a great interest in learning our history and efforts in making sure our temple is around for many years to come. One of these individuals is Mr. Ron Takata, who is a retired educator and history buff. He often brings friends and colleagues over to learn about HJM and has become a great friend to us.
Mr. Takata understands that HJM sustains itself solely on donations and that fundraising is an integral part of it, so this year, he generously donated twenty (20) kadomatsu arrangements he handmade by himself. He wanted HJM to raise funds by offering them to our members and friends for a small donation.
He made three sizes (small, large and medium) out of freshly cut bamboo and pine leaves that are adorned with artificial flowers. We are offering them for the following suggested donations:
We have a very limited amount left and are on a first come, first served basis. Limit one per household. Due to the fragile nature of these arrangements, shipping options are not being offered.
If you are interested in getting one, please call (808) 222-6764 or email: email@example.com to reserve one. At that time, instructions for payment and in person pick up will be given. They are going quickly so please reach out to us if you want to reserve one!
A heartfelt MAHALO goes out to Ron for his hard work and generous donation of these beautiful kadomatsus!!!
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Year End Clean Up Day that was listed in the December HJM newsletter for 12/19/20 has been CANCELED.
If you have been to HJM in the past few days, you will notice a lot of beautiful anthuriums & assorted flowers in vases near the main altar and the urn altar areas. These flowers were generously donated to us by HJM members Jane & Warren Miyasaki. They also brought flowers for the grave of Katsu Goto and the grave honoring the stillborn in the cemetery. The Miyasaki’s thoughtfulness is greatly appreciated by all!
Happy Thanksgiving! HJM would like to sincerely thank all our members, volunteers and friends for helping us sustain our historic temple.
This past year, we’ve also had many individuals from local businesses in our community who went beyond the call of duty to assist us. We would like to take this time to acknowledge them with our gratitude! They are:
Gary DeRego & his crew at DeRego Services
Derek Kurisu of KTA Super Stores
Former State Senator Dwight Takamine
John Hetherington of Hetherington Architecture LLC
Malia Mikaele of Hilo Fire Extinguishers
Nicole Garcia, Marie Kinchla & Dr. Momi Naughton of the NHERC Heritage Center
Historians Laura Ruby & Ross Stephenson
Bridget Perez of First Hawaiian Bank
Barbara Garcia & Jan Wizinowich of Ke Ola Magazine
Noreen Kaneshiro of Mutual Underwriters
Charlie Anderson of Hawaii Pacific Brokers LLC
Jodie Ching of The Hawaii Herald
Sgt. Vernon Ferreira, CPO Officer John Kari & all the Officers at the Honokaa Police Department
Kevin Vinluan of Paauhau Village Community Association
Fire Captain Kyle Vares & Fire Inspector Maika’i Pi’ianaia of Hawaii Fire Department & Fire Prevention Bureau
Leanne Okamoto of Kamehameha Schools
Vivian Paikai of Hawaiian Telcom
Mason Yamaki of Yamaki Law LLLC
Loida Torrano of Bank of Hawaii
Earlier this month, we posted about how the wild pigs haven’t dug up much of the front yard like last year. Looks like we spoke a little too soon…they managed to dig up the area near the tsukubai a few days ago. We’ve seen up to a dozen keiki pigs at a time roaming around, so hopefully more of them will be caught in the trap again soon!
Ai Iwane, a long time friend of HJM and an award winning photographer from Japan, currently has her short film “KIPUKA -New Beginnings” featured at the Hawai‘i International Film Festival (HIFF) in the “Made in Hawaii Shorts” category. Please click on the links below for more information:
Ai is also author who published an illustrated book titled “Hawaii Shima No Bon Dance – Bon Dance in Big Island”. The story line takes place at the HJM and our annual bon dance festivities. She incorporates illustrations of our temple, cemetery and even some members of our tiny congregation in her delightful book!
It’s that time of the year when many wild pigs come to the property in search of food and water. We have been lucky (so far) that they haven’t dug up much of the front yard and the bottom of the driveway. Last year, they dug up the area next to the water meter and pipes that resulted in a major water leak and large water bills for us.
A reason why there may be less digging this year can be attributed to several of them being caught in the pig trap that is set and maintained by Lance, a friend of HJM member Cary Matsumoto. One of our fantastic senior members, Sueichi Kawashima assists by leaving bait in and near the trap regularly. Thank you to both of them!
As a safety precaution, please drive slowly when going up and down the driveway. Wild pigs and their keiki are sometimes seen running across the driveway when they hear cars approaching.
Eagle eyed HJM members spotted one of our HJM potholders at Moa Kitchen Hawaii, a restaurant located in Waimea on the Big Island! Have you seen anything related to HJM around town? Let us know!
We would like to congratulate HJM member Rep. Mark Nakashima on being re-elected to State House District 1 and running a successful campaign! Mark and his family have been long time members of HJM and he currently is a Director on our Board. Congratulations, Mark!
There are a lot of notable gravestones located in our cemetery. Did you know that Umekichi Tanaka’s final resting place is at HJM? For those of you who may not know, Mr. Tanaka is responsible for the building of our temple. It is rare that anyone visits his grave, so if you have some extra time when visiting our temple, please stop by his gravesite to pay respect to him. Mr. Tanaka’s talent, dedication and hard work is an important part our of our temple’s history, which should not be forgotten.
His grave is located in Section D, plot number #282.
HJM would like to thank members Cary Matsumoto, Pickens Kehrer & four of Cary’s friends for helping President Masa Nishimori with the lawn work this past Sunday. If any of you are interested in volunteering, please contact us…. we could use the help!
We’ve noticed there has been an uptick in visitors stopping by the temple now that the amount of COVID-19 cases have been decreasing in the State and quarantine mandates have been lifted. As a reminder, please wear a mask at all times and practice social distancing measures when visiting. Your health and body will thank you for it!
We love visitors who come by to visit their departed loved ones or check out our historic temple and learn about our history. We do NOT like it when people come to loiter, vandalize, steal or cause mischief. Today a young, local guy came up to the property riding on his horse via the cement stairs and left a departing gift to us. It disheartens us when people like this show zero respect for sacred grounds.
We would like to thank and acknowledge HJM member Jane Miyasaki for her generous donation of hand sanitizer, disposable gloves, antibacterial hand wipes and single use face masks. These items will be put to good use at the temple to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Mahalo Nui Loa, Jane!
Fruit thieves are on the prowl again coming up the driveway to steal our fruit. In the past, some were caught jumping on branches, breaking the tree branches off and selling fruit stolen from our trees to the local fruit & vegetable stand in Honokaa. We have intercepted a few recently while they were going up the driveway. Others have been coming up and turning around once they see cars and people on the property. Some have been caught on our security cameras.
Fruit picking is limited to HJM members only and not open to the public to come up and raid our trees. The Honokaa Police Department is aware of this problem and have advised us to call them if we catch trespassers on the property doing this, or any trespassers in general.
Rev. Wansa informed HJM President Masa Nishimori that he will hold our yearly Ohigan service on 9/27/20 at 10:00am.
If you plan to attend, please remember to use a face mask at ALL times and observe social distancing and CDC guidelines.
Due to an overwhelming response to our Bon Dance Towel fundraiser, we have officially run out of our 2020 Bon Dance towels. We truly appreciate your kind donations & ongoing support!
A special thank you goes out to HJM member Iris Nakagawa and HJM friend & volunteer Nicole Garcia of the Heritage Center for posting about our fundraiser on their Facebook pages. It helped generate a lot of interest and orders for us. Fantastic job, ladies!
Thank you to those who have submitted your orders for our Bon Dance tenuguis! We have a small quantity left and expect to run out quickly. If you are interested in getting one, please contact us to reserve one for you as they are on a first come, first served basis. We will be mailing all orders received shortly.
Mahalo for your support and interest in our historic temple!
Our 2020 Bon Dance tenuguis (towels) were ordered and printed before a formal decision was made by the Jodo Shu to cancel their Bon Dances across the islands. In an effort to help raise donations for our historic temple, we are offering them for a small donation of $10.00 via mail order.
If you are interested in getting one, please point your mouse cursor on the “NEWS” section of our website above and a drop down menu of different news items will appear. You will see “2020 Bon Dance Towel Fundraiser” listed. Click on it for all the details on how to get this beautiful tenugui.
Like HJM, many Buddhist temples across the Hawaiian Islands have canceled their Bon Dance festivities this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although this event will not take place, it is important that we must not forget the meaning of Obon season and observe the traditions to honor our departed loved ones.
The Meaning Behind Obon Season
Obon season is held during the summer months of the year as it is believed that the spirits of our ancestors return to visit family and friends during this time.
Traditions such as “mukaebi” which is a small bonfire that is lit outside of ones residence to guide spirits home and the placing of offerings consisting of vegetables, fruits or sweets on altars is done. “Ohaka Mairi”, known as the cleaning up of the gravesite and praying for the departed is also done. Next, families will invite a Buddhist priest into their homes or at the cemetery to perform a memorial service and prayer for their loved ones.
A festival is then held called the “Bon Odori” or better known as the “Bon Dance”. This dance was originated back in the time when Mokuren, a disciple of Buddha discovered that his deceased mother fell into the depth of hungry ghosts and was suffering. Mokuren was able to bring his mother out the depths of hell with much prayer and offerings to Buddhist monks. During this time, Mokuren realized the sacrifices and selfless acts that his mother made during her lifetime and was thankful for what she did. He was so happy that he began to dance with joy which is today signified by the Bon Odori.
Obon is a time where we reflect and honor our departed loved ones and the sacrifices they made that enables us to lead the life we lead today that we often take for granted. It is also the celebration of their lives and to help these spirits find their way to the light and give us courage and strength in our daily life to keep us going. Obon season is observed once a year, but we all should make it a point to celebrate it in our hearts every day of the year.
Rev. Kanjun Nakano, one of the resident ministers at the Jodo Mission of Hawaii (Betsuin) in Honolulu recently passed away. HJM extends our deepest sympathies to his family in Japan. Namu Amida Butsu.
HJM now has a chain gate at the bottom of the driveway. This gate will be opened daily in the mornings and will be back up after 5pm.
As a reminder, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we kindly ask that everyone follow recommended CDC guidelines by wearing face masks and practice social distancing when visiting HJM. For your convenience, we have set up a small wooden stand with hand sanitizer for you to use upon entering the temple.
AJ Andersen, Owner of Curb Appeal Hawaii Roofing LLC stopped by HJM yesterday to say “hi” and check on the temple’s roofing that his company replaced back in 2018. Not only did they do a fantastic job, they were efficient, communicative and friendly. If you have any roofing needs, be sure to contact AJ for an estimate!
The next time you visit HJM, you will notice that the newsletters that were posted on the sliding doors of the temple are now posted downstairs on the windows of the choba room. You can now find the current newsletter and service schedules near the cemetery directory all in one place, to the left of the stairs.
Now that some COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, visitors from near and afar have been stopping by our temple. We love and welcome visitors, but if you are someone who is visiting the Big Island and is supposed to be following the 14 day quarantine mandate, we respectfully ask that you refrain from venturing out to HJM until after your quarantine period has ended. Let’s continue to flatten the curve and work together to keep everyone safe (especially our kupuna)!
HJM President Masa Nishimori diligently power washed and scrubbed off the mildew and moss build up on our tsukubai. It took a few hours to do, but the end result looks fantastic! After cleaning was completed, he and HJM member Sandy Takahashi repainted the faded Japanese writing on it.
NHERC Heritage Center friend, Shigeyo Ricci helped translate the writing on the tsukubai. Not only does it say “Wash your mind” on the front, the other sides of the tsukubai has important information on it such as the period it was erected, who constructed it and even mentions Pa’auhau plantation. Mahalo Shigeyo for your help!
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our August 8, 2020 Bon Dance has been officially CANCELED. For more information on Obon/Hatsubon services, please contact Rev. Wansa directly at (808) 775-0965. We appreciate your support and understanding.
AUWE!!! Although there is stay at home order, we have noticed that unwanted visitors have been using this “down time” to come to the property to loiter, steal fruit and dump their rubbish on the grounds. The Honoka’a Police Department have been helpful doing daily property checks and we have security cameras, but we need your kokua too! If you visit the property and see questionable people there, please report it to the police immediately by calling their non emergency number at (808) 935-3311.
Late last night, HJM President Masa Nishimori was informed that our neighbor Kevin Ferreira passed away. This came as a shock to members who knew Kevin as he was young and full of life. Although he was not Buddhist nor a member of HJM, Kevin was part of our HJM ohana. He selflessly volunteered a lot of his time on the property without being asked. From maintaining our wild pig trap, doing daily security drive bys on his ATV, hauling away oversized fallen trees, leveling off areas where wild pigs dug up, scaring off fruit thieves and trespassers…he did A LOT for us. Kevin was a good hearted person and we will truly miss him. Our deepest sympathy goes out to the Ferreira family.
HJM is currently featured in article in the May-August 2020 edition of Ke Ola Magazine! To find out where you can obtain a free copy of this Big Island publication, click on the following links:
For those of you that don’t live on the Big Island, you can view the article on Ke Ola Magazine’s website at: https://keolamagazine.com/home-building/hamakua-jodo-mission/
We would like to thank writer Jan Wizinowich and Owner/Publisher Barbara Garcia for a great article and their genuine interest in helping our temple gain exposure!
The construction phase of the cesspool project is now completed.
There is now a long running berm that extends from the left tree area near the gulch, all the way to the rear of the restroom building. This area is where the new IWS and leach field is located and is OFF LIMITS to all vehicular traffic.
We ask that you park your vehicles on the grassy lawn area in the front of the temple. Your kokua is greatly appreciated! For more details on the next phase of the cesspool project, please check out to the “Cesspool Conversion Update” page.
HJM received sad news that Mrs. Joyce Yuki passed away. Mrs. Yuki and her husband were active members of HJM for many years prior to relocating to Oahu to be near family. Namu Amida Butsu.
Starting Monday, 4/20/20, there will be cesspool construction work being done on the property. We strongly advise people to refrain from visiting our temple while construction work is underway. Updates will be posted on the newly created page “Cesspool Conversion Update” located under the “NEWS” tab on our homepage.
We were informed this afternoon that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bishop Ishikawa has canceled his trip to the Big Island to meet HJM members on Saturday, 4/11/20. If you were planning to attend, this visit has been officially canceled and will be rescheduled in the future. In the meantime, please stay safe and abide the social distancing guidelines and orders Governor Ige and our County Mayors have mandated for the State of Hawaii.
Many people aren’t aware that we have a couple of cherry blossom trees at the top corner of our driveway. They don’t produce sakura blossoms very often, but this year we have been treated to a few on the trees that add a special touch to our beautiful grounds!
We had special visitors to HJM today! Two of Rev. Kogan Ekuan’s children, Yoshiko and Gorden along with their family stopped by HJM this afternoon. Some of our members were there to meet them and reminisce about the good ol days! It was great to hear stories of them growing up on the property and have them share their wonderful memories.
Tune into local tv show “Seniors Living In Paradise” on Spectrum channel 129 and you will see host Derek Kurisu interviewing two of our HJM members at our historic temple! This March episode is being shown daily at 6:30pm – 7:30pm. If you are an early riser, it can also be seen Monday through Friday from 6:00am – 7:00am.
For those of you who live outside of Hawaii or do not subscribe to Spectrum cable services, this episode will be available soon on the KTA Super Stores website. In the meantime, you can bookmark the direct link to their website and check back in a few days.
Thank you & a big shaka to Derek!
Visitors galore! HJM friend Ron Takata recently stopped by the temple with two colleagues of his, Naohito Suetsugu a recently retired Director of the Oye Gijuku in Kumamoto City, Kyushu Japan and his translator Mineko Yajima.
On the same afternoon, Kay (Higashi) Hunt and her family from Washington paid HJM a visit too after visiting the NHERC Heritage Center. Ms. Hunt’s parents are an important part of HJM’s history – her father, Hisao was HJM’s president for many years. Her mother, Yukie was just as active – always helping out especially in the kitchen whipping up her delicious recipes.
It is always a pleasure to see both new and old friends stop by!
Happy Leap Year Day!
HJM celebrated their annual New Years luncheon at the Jade Palace Restaurant on 2/23/20. Many of our friends and volunteers joined HJM members for an enjoyable meal and great company!
A sweet mahalo to two local businesses, Big Island Delights & Big Island Candies for their charitable donations!
Mmmmm…..guess who stopped by for a tour of HJM? Derek Kurisu of KTA Super Stores and host of the tv shows “People Living in Paradise” and “Seniors Living in Paradise” (cable channel 129)! HJM will be featured on a future episode, so stay tuned for more details!
Be sure to pick up a copy of the latest edition of The Hawai’i Herald, a popular Japanese American Journal publication. There is a fantastic article about Katsu Goto and HJM in it. It is just one of several publications that will be featuring our historic temple in the upcoming months.
Just a friendly reminder that our next members meeting will be on Sunday, February 9, 2020. If you are not able to attend, please send in your proxies no later than February 7, 2020.
A special thank you goes out to our neighbor, Kevin Ferreira for flattening out the areas of our lawn where wild pigs have been digging up. These wild pigs not only dig up our lawn, but also like to dig up the area at the bottom of the driveway where our water meter box is. They managed to dig up and break some PVC pipes nearby a few months ago, which caused leaks that resulted in large water bills.
Our pig trap did manage to catch a wild pig last week which Mr. Ferreira handled for us. Mahalo, Kevin!
After serving a year as HJM’s Treasurer, Sandy Takahashi has sadly resigned from this position. She remains a very active member and vocal advocate for our temple.
Akemashite Omedetō Gozaimasu! 明けましておめでとうございます
Don’t forget, our members meeting is this Sunday, 1/05/20 at 10:00am. If you are not able to come, you can always give your proxy to someone to attend and vote in your place.
Hamakua Jodo Mission would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!
We would like to acknowledge the following local businesses who have sent in charitable donations for our donation drive campaign. They are: HPM Building Supply, KTA Super Stores, Hawaii Pacific Brokers LLC, Ace Hardware and Orchid Isle Dental.
A big MAHALO goes out to their management teams and wonderful staff for showing their aloha spirit to us!
Many of you may have seen Derwin Kaholoa’a, our neighbor at the bottom of the driveway cutting hedges and working in his small macadamia nut orchard over the years. We were told by his family that Mr. Kaholoa’a passed away. We extend our deepest sympathies to the Kaholoa’a family.
Our friends at the NHERC Heritage Center will debuting their newest exhibit “Maika’i e ka “Aina o Waimea” today. Their permanent Historic Honoka’a Town exhibit is in the room right next door, so stop by and check out their latest exhibit and also our HJM display wall at the same time! They are located at: 45-539 Plumeria St., Honoka’a, HI 96727, on the ground floor.
Long time member Tomoe “Violet” Oketani moved off island this past weekend to be closer to her family. Mrs. Oketani has been very active with HJM for many years. We wish her well living on Oahu!
We were saddened to hear that HJM member Lydia Seo passed away recently. Our thoughts and prayers goes out to the Seo Family. Namu Amida Butsu.
As of late, our front lawn has become a favorite spot for wild pigs to dig up in their search for water sources. We have a pig trap set up under the mango tree that is maintained by Sueichi Kawashima and our friend and neighbor, Kevin Ferreira. He also patrols around our property on his ATV and keeps an eye out for us.