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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Kapaa in Kauai County, Hawaii — Hawaiian Island Archipelago (Pacific Ocean)
 

The Kapaa Japanese Stone Lantern (Ishidoro)

Preserving the History of Kapaa’s Issei Generation

 
 
The Kapa’a Japanese Stone Lantern (Ishidoro) Marker image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, July 26, 2008
1. The Kapa’a Japanese Stone Lantern (Ishidoro) Marker
Inscription. The 15-foot cast concrete lantern was constructed in 1915 by Kaua‘i’s first generation Japanese immigrants. As a tribute to their homeland, the lantern commemorates the 1912 coronation of Emperor Taisho. An inscription reads: “Great Japan Emperor ascension to the throne, coronation, and commemoration lantern”.

During WW II, as anti-Japanese sentiment grew on Kaua‘i, the lantern was buried in 1943. Almost three decades later, the lantern was unearthed in 1972 when county workers responded to a complaint about a protruding metal rod in Kapa‘a Beach Park. When no group was ready to assume the costs for the monument’s repair, it was reburied. In 1987, it was uncovered again and re-erected through a community effort led by Mayor Tony Kunimura, the Kaua‘i Historical Society and others. For the next 20 years, the lantern stood supported by heavy I-beam braces.

In 2008, with an award from the Kaua‘i County/ HUD Community Development Block Grant Program, the lantern was finally restored through the efforts of the leadership Kaua‘i Lantern Restoration Committee and the Kapa‘a Business Association. Restoring the lantern to its original beauty celebrates Kapa‘a’s unique history and multi-cultural heritage.
 
Erected 2008.
 
Location. 22° 4.647′ N, 159° 18.997′ W. Marker is in Kapaa, Hawaii, in
The Kapa’a Japanese Stone Lantern (Ishidoro) Monument image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, July 25, 2008
2. The Kapa’a Japanese Stone Lantern (Ishidoro) Monument
Constructed of cast concrete and erected in 1915 by messrs. J.S. Teraoka, Masanobu Nitta and Mr. Fujiwara to commemorate the Russo-Japanese war dead and the coronation of the Emperor Taisho. Buried in 1943. Resurrected in 1972, then promptly buried again. Resurrected again in 1987. Restored in 2008. It took a hysterical society to bury it and a historical society to unearth it.
Kauai County. Marker is on State Highway 56, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. The monument is in the northwest corner of the park, adjacent to the Kapaa Branch Library. Marker is in this post office area: Kapaa HI 96746, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 15 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Roxy Theater (approx. 0.2 miles away); Houola (approx. 2.7 miles away); Albert S. Morgan Sr.'s Lydgate Pools (approx. 2.8 miles away); Poli'auh Heiau (approx. 3.3 miles away); Wai'ale'ale (approx. 3.5 miles away); Maunakapu and Wailua River (approx. 3.5 miles away); Daniel K. Inouye (approx. 12 miles away); Hanalei Schoolhouse (approx. 14.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Kapaa.
 
Regarding The Kapaa Japanese Stone Lantern (Ishidoro). Japanese immigration to Hawaii began in 1869. The expansion of sugar cane plantations in the latter half of the 19th century led to the large scale recruitment and importation of farm contact labor from abroad, such that by the turn of the century, the Japanese were the largest ethnic group in Hawaii, with a large Japanese community on the island of Kaua‘i. When Japan went to war against Russia in 1904–1905, the Japanese community raised funds and sent it back to the homeland for support. After the war, in gratitude for the support, Japan gave the community funding for the erection of a monument. The resulting concrete stone lantern, erected in 1915, commemorates the Russo-Japanese war dead and the coronation of the Emperor Taisho.

As the historical marker notes, anti-Japanese sentiment led to the burial of the monument. Specifically, many civilians complained that a monument erected by nationals of a hostile nation (Japan) commemorating a victory over an ally (Russia) was inappropriate. Reflecting the monument’s removal and burial by county workers in April, 1943, the headline in the Garden Island newspaper read, “Reminders of Japanese Victory Removed”.

In May, 1972, at the request of the Kaua‘i Historical Society, the county unearthed the monument. During the monument’s unearthing, the monument broke in two. Neither the Historical Society, nor the local Buddhist Temple, nor the county or state governments were able to accept financial responsibility for the repair and re-erection of the monument, and the monument was buried again the following day. Fifteen years later the monument was unearthed and erected again, with steel bracing as support. And finally, in 2008, the restoration was completed, and the monument looks as good as when it was first erected. Turk Tokita, an administrative assistant to the city council, may have summed it up best in 1972 when he noted that it took a hysterical society to bury the monument, and a historical society to unearth it.
 
Also see . . .  “Kauai’s Japanese Stone Lantern Project”. An in-depth article on the history of the monument is provided by Tammi Andersland on page 12. (Submitted on August 1, 2008.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 1, 2008, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 3,566 times since then and 63 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 1, 2008, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
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