From the Garden Isle of Kauai, Maui Matsuri welcomes musician and singer Keola Worthington. Known primarily as a Hawaiian entertainer, Keola graces the Maui Matsuri stage in honor of his Japanese ancestors. His 3rd great grandfather, Takezo Iida, was a part of the Gannenmono – the first Japanese contract immigrants to come to Hawaii – and fathered the first baby of Japanese parentage in the Kingdom of Hawaii. His majesty King Kalakaua and Her Royal Highness, Princess Lydia Liliuokalani, acted as godfather and godmother at the child’s christening.

Keola’s first trip to Japan in the mid-nineties was at the invitation of Kaleinani Hirakawa, Japan’s first kumu hula. Since then, he has been to Japan numerous times and, along with Kawika Defries, will perform Japanese favorites with a distinctly Hawaiian flavor for us at Maui Matsuri. Keola regularly performs at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and the Poipu Shopping Village, and he continues to travel abroad to promote the Hawaiian Islands.(Back)

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For the Sake of the Children

The Kanji characters Kodomo No Tame Ni translates to "For the Sake of the Children". A perpetual theme for this festival, the focus is to provide an environment for families to share and learn about the Japanese culture and pass down traditions. Ancestors came here for a better life not only for themselves but for their children and for generations to come. In this spirit, we end the festival with a traditional obon dance which encourages all ages, all religious denominations, and all ethnicities to come together to dance in honor of all ancestors.

 

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