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Today’s Kupuna Achiever is Jane Komeiji, a former special education teacher for gifted children at the Hawaii State Department of Education. Komeiji also worked at the University of Hawaii as a programs coordinator and educator for beginning teachers.
“I thought, gee, teachers are important, especially in the younger grades. And I thought, of course, I’m gonna be a good teacher,” said Komeiji.
As a Japanese American, Komeiji was inspired to co-author a book about the immigration of the Japanese to Hawaii called “Okage Sama De: The Japanese in Hawaii.” The goal behind the book was to expose younger generations to the trials and successes that new immigrants encountered on their journey, and as Komeiji said, “how these immigrants have made Hawaii what Hawaii is today.”
“Okage sama de means I am what I am today because of all of the help that I received from people like you. And you does not only mean you and you, but it means the plants, the soil, and all the way back. It’s a beautiful phrase,” said Komeiji.
During our visit to Koemiji’s home at 15 Craigside she was honored by the Japanese Cultural Center for her book. The book outlines the hardships that Japanese immigrants faced upon arriving in Hawaii and their struggles to gain acceptance. The book also outlines how later, as members of the legendary 100th Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team, as well as unsung heroes of the Interpreters’ group, these same virtues helped them emerge among the leaders during the postwar years to shape a new Hawaii.
In her downtime Komeiji enjoys reading about history, current events, and biography and enjoys socializing and having meaningful discussions with others.
From her elementary school days Komeiji has always lived by one motto, “to make this world a better place.”
To purchase Okage Sama De: The Japanese in Hawaii written by Jane Komeiji visit amazon.com
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