"On" Festival Theme: Honoring Our Veterans
Along with their cultural practices, food, and language, Japanese immigrants to the United States also brought along their values. Among these values is one that we are honoring at this year&squot;s Maui Matsuri: "On" or debt of gratitude. There are many in the community to whom we are indebted, from the first Japanese immigrants to the islands who tirelessly labored away in plantations, to our parents and grandparents who sacrificed of themselves so that we might have better lives.
This year, we honor a group of men to whom we owe an enormous debt of gratitude: our Nisei Veterans of World War II. To battle against an enemy in defense of an ideal is a noble cause, but these Japanese-American men faced an even greater challenge. The men of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 100th Battalion, and Military Intelligence Service (MIS) volunteered to fight for a country which espoused freedom while it actively withheld that freedom from them and their families. These men fought and died not only to bring victory for the U.S. and its allies, but to prove the worth of their entire community.
They succeeded in their missions both abroad and at home. And while the 442nd has been recognized as the most decorated unit of its size in U.S. history, we recognize that our sense of "On" is based not only on what they did, but why they did it. We invite you to join us at 5:00 p.m. on Maui Matsuri&squot;s central entertainment stage on Saturday, May 16, where will be honoring the heroes of the 442nd RCT, 100th Battalion, and MIS at a very special ceremony.
Artist Rendering of "On" Theme: Festival T-Shirts
Maui Matsuri is excited and honored to have Jonathan Clark return as the artist and designer for this year&squot;s festival t-shirt. Jonathan was born and raised on Maui. During his undergraduate studies at Washington University in St. Louis, he majored in Painting and East Asian Studies, after which he returned home to exhibit his works both on Maui and Oahu. He eventually relocated to Kyoto, Japan in order to pursue a one-year research program in printmaking. The experience of living in Japan gave him a completely new understanding of the culture, especially in its embrace of seasonality and the passage of time, and reshaped his create process and the direction of his artwork. Jonathan is now back to school earning his Master of Fine Arts degree in Studio Art at New York University.
Jonathan chose to include the crane as a symbol of the gratitude expressed in the kanji "On", which is one of the traditional Japanese-American values that will be celebrated at this year&squot;s Maui Matsuri. The crane figures prominently in the story Tsuru No Onagaeshi, which tells of a crane weaving cloth from its own feathers as a way to show its gratitude to a man who rescued it. The circular pattern is reminiscent of Enso – a Zen symbol representing wholeness, infinity, strength, elegance, and enlightenment. Maui Matsuri wishes Jonathan the best on his journey through graduate school, and is grateful to him for taking the time to design this year&squot;s beautiful Maui Matsuri t-shirts, which will be available for purchase at the Maui Matsuri Movie Night as well as at the Maui Matsuri Festival at Festival Central.
For more information, call 808-283-9999.
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