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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, December 21, 2002

Community raises up for Japanese Center

It's heartwarming that in this season of giving, when so many of us are focused on our own family and friends, that a struggling cultural and civic institution in McCully is getting so much attention.

That institution, the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i, faces foreclosure due to a $9 million debt that it seeks to erase by Dec. 31.

At one time, the situation looked impossible. But when word of the center's plight got out, the community began to rally. Donations poured in, including a $500,000 contribution from the Makiki Japanese Language School.

Many others also contributed, including a foundation associated with this newspaper.

And then the center received an important political boost when Gov. Linda Lingle said she would use her bully pulpit to convince people the center and its mission are worth saving.

And it is. The center may have had its share of internal organizational problems, but the overall mission of preserving the culture and heritage of the Japanese who have come to work, live and build Hawai'i is an important one.

The upwelling of community support for the Japanese Cultural Center reflects an important value in our Island culture: We take care of each other.

In this holiday season, it's gratifying to see that this value is being so roundly honored.