HONOLULU – Mayor Kirk Caldwell has requested Honolulu Hale to be illuminated in the traditional Okinawan color of purple this evening, Thursday, Oct. 31 to express solidarity with Honolulu’s sister city of Naha and the people of Okinawa after the devastating fire at Shuri Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
“The Ryukyu Kingdom balanced the competing powers of Japan and China by building Shuri Castle with Japanese and Chinese architectural components, making it a unique symbol of the Okinawan character of getting along and working together,” said Mayor Caldwell. “Shuri Castle was destroyed in the battle for Okinawa in 1945, but was rebuilt in the spirit of pulling together in the face of adversity and stood as a symbol of Okinawan perseverance and fortitude. This same spirit was seen in Hawai‘i’s Okinawan people, when after World War II, they helped rebuild Okinawa’s critical pork industry, raised much-needed funds and donated clothing and other materials as the Okinawan people dug themselves out of a devastating conflict. It’s because of this principle that the City and County of Honolulu and Okinawa’s capital city of Naha entered into a sister city relationship in March of 1960. Just like the Okinawan people, this relationship remains vibrant and strong. This is why after the fire at Shuri Castle, we, the people of the City and County of Honolulu, stand with the people of Okinawa and Naha Mayor Mikiko Shiroma in expressing our great sadness over the destruction of this historic site. To show our support for our Sister City of Naha and the Okinawan people, we will be lighting Honolulu Hale in purple, the traditional color for Okinawan pride.”
“On behalf of the Hawai‘i United Okinawa Association (HUOA), we were deeply saddened by the tragic loss of the symbol of Okinawa’s cultural heritage, Shuri Castle,” said HUOA Executive Director Jon Itomura. “Similar to how Iolani Palace represents Hawai‘i’s heritage, Shuri Castle represents the important elements of Okinawa’s history, the sovereign Ryukyu Kingdom, and Okinawa’s struggle and effort to recover from World War II. The initial reconstruction of the castle was praised as ‘a great monument symbolizing the pride of the Ryukyu people.’ No doubt thousands of Hawai‘i residents, in addition to visitors from all over the world, have marveled at Shuri Castle’s majestic beauty.”