Star-Bulletin Features

Saturday, February 9, 2002

Honpa Hongwanji honors
islands’ ‘Living Treasures’

Star-Bulletin staff

Six island residents were honored last night as "Living Treasures of Hawaii" for their contributions to society and humanity through scholarly, cultural and community pursuits.

The awards that celebrate Hawaii's distinctive and artistic heritage were presented by Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii at its 90th Legislative Assembly Aloha Banquet in Hilo. More than 100 people have been honored in the 26 years since the program was begun, inspired by the Living National Treasures titles awarded in Japan.

The "Living Treasures" are:

>> Yoshihiko Sinoto, who as senior anthropologist at Bishop Museum became the foremost expert on the origins of Pacific Island civilizations. He is the author of several books including the soon-to-be-published "Forty Years of Archaeological Work in Polynesia."

>> Alfred Bloom, University of Hawaii professor emeritus of religion and former dean of the University of California Institute of Buddhist Studies. A world leader in Shin Buddhism, he was instrumental in the establishment of the Buddhist Study Center in Honolulu and efforts to unite 28 different Buddhist sects in the Hawaii Association of International Buddhists.

>> Takashi Nonaka, teacher of Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido on the Big Island, one of only four people outside Japan to hold an eighth-degree black belt in the martial art that emphasizes mind and body coordination. He retired as manager of the C. Brewer and Co. crop log laboratories, where he provided training in agriculture for students from Asia and Central America.

>> Lynne Yoshiko Nakasone, who has taught hundreds of young people at Yoshiko Nakasone Dance Academy, which she founded 45 years ago. She has conducted workshops and participated in numerous cultural and ethnic arts events, and has performed for members of Japan's royal family in visits to Hawaii.

>> Takeshi Fujita, a retired Kauai science teacher who was elected to the National Teacher Hall of Fame in 1987 and named 1997 national retired educator by the AARP National Retired Teachers Association. His community activities include conducting oral history workshops for Friends of Hanapepe Library, leading field trips and mentoring peer tutoring in science.

>> Myron B. "Pinky" Thompson was honored posthumously for his career in social work and government service and contributions to Hawaiian culture. He was president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and retired as a trustee of Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate.

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