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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, January 20, 2002

Construction of Ehime Maru memorial under way

By Mike Gordon
Advertiser Staff Writer

Construction has begun on a Kaka'ako waterfront memorial that will honor the nine men and boys who died almost a year ago when the Ehime Maru collided with the submarine USS Greeneville.

Officials with the Ehime Maru Memorial Association are planning to unveil the finished project Feb. 9, the first anniversary of the tragedy, said Earl Okawa, president of the Japan-America Society.

The memorial will be created from nine sloping granite blocks that will bear one of the ship's two anchors. The blocks are in Hawai'i, but have not cleared customs yet, Okawa said.

The groundbreaking was Jan. 8, and the foundation is being prepared, he said.

The black blocks will bear several engravings, including the names of the victims, an outline of the ship and a map of the accident site.

The society will help maintain the memorial, but community volunteers have already stepped forward. Okawa said the Japan Club from Saint Louis School has volunteered to clean the memorial once a month.

Okawa said he thinks relatives of the victims will attend the unveiling, as will the principal of Uwajima Fisheries School, which owned the ship, and the governor of Ehime Prefecture, which paid for the $65,000 memorial.

Students from the school have also been invited, but Okawa is not sure if any teenagers who survived the sinking will make the trip.

"I would really like the students to mix with students from Hawai'i," he said. "But the kids who survived the accident have really been traumatized and have had a hard time."

Reach Mike Gordon at mgordon@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8012.