Tuesday, May 29, 2001


Shinnyo-En's head, Shinso Ito, led chanting yesterday during
the Shinnyo-En Lantern Floating Ceremony (Toro-Nagashi)
at Keehi Lagoon Park.

Lanterns of
honor mark Toro-
Nagashi rite

Thousands gather to
commemorate the dead in the
reverent Shinnyo-En

By Rosemarie Bernardo

Edna Yamada stood among thousands of attendees at Keehi Lagoon Park and clasped her hands together in honor of her relatives who had died.

She chanted along with Buddhist priests while more than 1,000 lanterns were placed in the water to honor the souls of the dead.

"We're praying for our ancestors," said Yamada, who has been a member of the Shinnyo-En order since 1982.

"It's very sacred," said Yamada, who prayed for her father, Akio Matsunaga, and her grandparents Toraki and Kaoru, who have all died.

The parent lanterns were blessed and sent out to sea in the
Shinnyo-En Lantern Floating (Toro-Nagashi) Ceremony
at Keehi Lagoon Park.

Nearly 2,000 people gathered along the shoreline at Keehi Lagoon last night for the third annual Toro-Nagashi (Lantern Floating) Ceremony. Mayor Jeremy Harris and wife Ramona, along with U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink and husband John, attended the ceremony.

Shinnyo-En is a Buddhist order headquartered in Tokyo. Practitioners aim for the realization of a harmonious world through the application of traditional Buddhism in modern society.

The lanterns are set afloat in the water to guide the souls of the dead over the ocean to the world of spiritual comfort.

Officiating priest Shinnyo Keishu-Sama, the founder's daughter, knelt in front of six lanterns and performed the lantern purification rite.

During the ceremony some attendees wiped away tears with their hands or a handkerchief.

Sunda Tukumi, left, and Miyaoka Sumie were among thousands
from Japan who came to take part yesterday in the Shinnyo-En
Lantern Floating (Toro-Nagashi) Ceremony.

While others attended to pay respect to their ancestors, some attended to satisfy their curiosity. Norman and Wilma Uyeno of Kaimuki attended the lantern ceremony for the first time.

"We're surprised," said Norman Uyeno, who did not realize the number of people who attended the event.

The first Shinnyo-En Toro-Nagashi was observed in 1952 in Tokyo. When the founder of Shinnyo-En, Shinjo Ito, first visited Hawaii in 1970, he visited the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.

It was there he aspired to conduct a service for the war victims as well as other spirits and to pray for world peace.

The first Shinnyo-En (Lantern Floating) Ceremony was held in 1952 in Japan to offer spiritual consolation for those who died in water. In May 1999 the first such ceremony in Hawaii was held in Keehi Lagoon.


Last year's Haleiwa Jodo Mission bon dance and Toro Nagashi story and video.

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