Our Town: The Torii Gate, Moiliili Triangle Park


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The torii gate on Miyajima Island, Japan...

Photo: Guy A. Sibilla

 
...and it's replica in Moiliili.

Photo: Guy A. Sibilla

Cities are people too. Just ask Ron Ushijima of the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce and he’ll tell you that our city has a sister. And a Japanese one at that. According to Ushijima, the orange-reddish gate known as a torii erected near the intersection of University Avenue and King Street (see inset photo) stands as, “an enduring symbol of the bond of friendship and cultural exchange between Honolulu and the people of Hiroshima.”

The Moiliili structure is a scale replica of the world famous torii gate—shown above—at the water’s edge of picturesque Miyajima Island, just south of Hiroshima proper and accessible only by ferry.

Why is Hiroshima Honolulu’s sister city? “Mostly for historical reasons,” says Ushijima. “A majority of the initial Japanese immigrants that came to Honolulu [in the 1880s] came from Hiroshima.”

Although tiny Miyajima Island is important in its own right for its centuries-old Buddhist shrines and temples, this generous gift from Hiroshima suggests that some gates are really meant to build bridges.


 

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Honolulu Magazine January 2018
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