Kamehameha Schools Maui has won the Honolulu Festival’s Annual Maui Mikoshi Design Contest for the second year in a row. The theme of this year’s mikoshi–a decorative float unique to specific prefectures in Japan that is carried by groups of celebrants during festivals–was “Jubilation: One Heart, One Pacific, One World.”
The students who designed the mikoshi–under the guidance of Japanese language teacher Jared Mateaki and Global Studies and Business Law teacher Kealii Mossman–won a free trip to Oahu to participate in the 20th Annual Honolulu Festival. They will display their mikoshi at the Hawaii Convention Center on Saturday, March 8, and then carry it through Waikiki in the Grand Parade on Sunday, March 9.
“The students are truly excited to be participating again this year and are looking forward to seeing their design brought to life,” said Mateaki. “It is a great learning experience for our students and is something they will remember for the rest of their lives.”
Kamehameha Schools Maui’s winning design was inspired by the students’ perceptions and experiences with multiculturalism, unity and love. The mikoshi features a balance of two specific cultures (Japanese and Hawaiian), and two ideas (traditional and modern). The unity of cultures can be seen in the details that make up the mikoshi. For example, the roof features two flowers floating in water; the students see water as a common element connecting Japan with Hawaii, both physically and culturally. The backdrop is the sun, which also depicts unity as Japan is known as the house of the rising sun; and the sun represents Hawaii because it is the last place in the U.S. where the sun sets. The backdrop symbolizes that both cultures are connected in the circle of the day, and that the circle cannot be complete without either.
“Kamehameha Schools Maui has created a wonderful mikoshi that thoughtfully connects the cultures of Japan and Hawaii in an elaborate and meaningful way,” said Keiichi Tsujino, President of the Honolulu Festival Foundation. “We applaud the students and their teachers for designing a mikoshi that perfectly complements this year’s Honolulu Festival theme by emphasizing the importance of cultural harmony and unity.”
The Honolulu Festival Foundation supports educational and cultural programs for the benefit of Hawaii’s schoolchildren and the community-at-large through public outreach and charitable efforts. The festival is celebrating its 20th year in 2014 with a weekend of free arts and cultural displays and entertainment performances, March 7-9. Under the banner of “Pacific Harmony,” the Honolulu Festival’s goal is to help perpetuate the strong cultural and ethnic ties between the people of Asia-Pacific and Hawaii.
Photo of Kamehameha Schools Maui students: Honolulu Festival