4 protesters greet Japanese
princess at UH
Students serenade Princess SayakoBy Susan Kreifels
Hawaii children got to see a real princess today -- up close. And a Japanese law student shook her hand, an unthinkable act at home.
But four native Hawaiian students took the opportunity to let Princess Sayako know they didn't want any more Japanese telescopes on Mauna Kea.
Sayako, her trademark white gloves in hand, visited the University of Hawaii-Manoa today during her weeklong visit to the islands. Unlike her stop at Punchbowl yesterday, where no one attended but bodyguards and a few dignitaries, a small crowd of university students, grade-school children, faculty and administration awaited as three limousines bearing the princess and her entourage pulled up.
Fourth- and fifth-graders from the UH Lab School played ukuleles and sang "Island Style" as the princess arrived on campus. UH President Kenneth Mortimer and his wife, Lorrie, waited with leis.
"I never got to meet a princess before," said kimono-clad Diamond Tachera, 7, who presented roses to the princess. "I said 'This is for you, your highness.' "
SONG FOR A PRINCESS
Sayako later spoke with UH students and watched a kabuki performance at Kennedy Theatre. She was also scheduled to plant a tree at the East-West Center, where her parents planted one years earlier.
"If I was in Japan, I couldn't see the princess at such a very close distance," said Keiko Noiri, a UH language student from Japan who saw the princess for the first time yesterday.
While Japanese students waved and cheered, four native Hawaiian students held protest signs. Later this week Sayako travels to the Big Island, where she will dedicate the Subaru telescope, funded by the Japanese. Native Hawaiians protest development on Mauna Kea, a mountain they consider sacred.
The UH Center for Hawaiian Studies was originally scheduled to host the princess today but later refused because the center also opposes Mauna Kea development.
"We're appealing to the princess," said Pi'ilani Smith, representing Ilioulaokalani, a native Hawaiian group that opposes Mauna Kea development.