Council passes designationsBy Leila Fujimori
for Japantown and
The United Korean Society of Hawaii's president will travel to Korea next year to ask the government to help fund a Honolulu Koreatown.
Young Sol told the City Council yesterday he supports plans to designate the area of Keeaumoku, Makaloa and Kanunu streets as a Korean cultural district.
"It will revitalize our community," Sol said. "I believe it will promote cultural exchange with sister cities from Korea" and promote trade and investment.
The City Council passed two resolutions to designate areas for a Japantown in Moiliili and the Koreatown.
But Councilwoman Rene Mansho was surprised when she had five calls and letters in two days before the hearing, opposing the plan and calling it racial discrimination.
"To try to single out certain races this way makes us very uncomfortable," said Charles Torigoe, a Moiliili Neighborhood Board member speaking informally on behalf of some board members. "We don't feel we should have imposed on us the areas where Council members are proposing these special design areas inhabited by Hawaiians, Chinese and Caucasians."
Torigoe, who did not testify at the Council hearing, was upset that the Japanese Chamber of Commerce, which proposed the Japantown idea to Councilman Andy Mirikitani, failed to discuss its plans with the neighborhood board. He said the city has also been imposing its development plan, rail system and now "superimposing on us Japantown."
Mirikitani, who authored the resolutions, said no city funds will be needed. The city will make partnerships with businesses, churches and educational institutions, boosting the economy through cultural tourism, he said.