HONOLULU (KHON2) – What started in 1999 has turned into an annual tradition here in Hawaii, and we’re speaking of the Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony. 

But since the pandemic, things were forced to change, going virtual and an in-person experience.

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And this year, things are no different. 

To find out more KHON2 met with the Lighting Artist Hideaki Tsutsui who can speak more about this. 

KHON2 asked Tsutsui to share about this year’s experience which is known as “Space to Heal.”

“Last two years, we have been separated from the pandemic and a lot of us have lost loved ones,” said Tsutsui. “So we wanted to offer an experience and space for people to come together and share stories about people who’ve passed.”

For those who came last year, there was a big structure in the middle and we don’t see that, so there are things different this year.

KHON2 then asked what is different this year compared to last?

“Last year because of the pandemic and how numbers were very high, we wanted to create a ceremony but somehow controlled,” said Tsutsui. “But this year, we wanted to create an environment that is together and so we have four different locations with these bridges and people can experience that floating the lantern together.”

KHON2 asked Tsutsui, as the artist putting all this together, what is the symbolism behind the bridges and all these different things that he created?

“Yes. The bridges symbolize the journey of human nature and in our lives, we all end at the same place,” said Tsutsui. “And the circular shape is, of course, the circle of life. But also last year, I watched a video of family and community members making lei together.  And again, Hawaiian lei symbolizes the love, friendship, honor and goodbyes.”

There are many different ways that people can participate in this, and by reservations only on their website.

But what are some other ways that people can participate?

“People can go to lanternfloatinghawaii.com for a reservation,” said Tsutsui.

“And also, there is going to be broadcast and also livestream on the same website and also on Memorial Day, 6:30 p.m. on KHON.”

The Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawaii: Space to Heal Interactive Experience kicks off this Friday, May 27, lasting till June 5 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

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We are located right across the street from Shinnyo-en Hawaii on Beretania Street.