Hawaiian elementary school student, grandson of former Hawaiian governor, studies peace at Hiroshima school

by Moe Nishimura, Staff Writer

Ryoichi Ariyoshi, 11, a Japanese-American boy from Honolulu, Hawaii, began attending Honkawa Elementary School as a temporary student on July 10. Because his maternal grandfather lives in Nishi Ward, Hiroshima, Ryoichi hopes to learn more about the city. He will study peace and other subjects with a fifth-grade class until July 18. He will also attend the annual Peace Memorial Ceremony on August 6.

On his first day at the school, he tried making an origami crane. He also painted washi Japanese paper, which will be used for lanterns displayed at a local memorial service for A-bomb victims. Some students with English ability interacted with Ryoichi, and they quickly became engaged in friendly conversation.

Ryoichi’s mother Chikage, 50, is from Fukuyama, a city in the southeastern part of Hiroshima Prefecture. But her father now lives in Nishi Ward, Hiroshima. Ryoichi came to Japan and visited Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum last summer. He learned about Sadako Sasaki, who died of leukemia ten years after the atomic bombing, and grew more interested in Hiroshima’s past. Ryoichi asked the city for permission to study at a school here and was accepted into Honkawa Elementary School, the school located closest to the hypocenter.

On August 5, Ryoichi will introduce Hawaiian culture to all the students at the school. He said that he will talk about his wish for peace and that he hopes the United States and Japan will maintain friendly ties in the future. His paternal grandfather, George Ariyoshi, 88, the former governor of Hawaii, will also attend the Peace Memorial Ceremony.

(Originally published on July 11, 2014)