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AT 1 P.M., OCTOBER 6, 2007



            The late Akira Sakima, who grew up on a pig farm in Kalihi Valley and went on to represent the district in the House of Representatives from 1959 to 1976, will be honored at a ceremony to rename the recreation building at Kalihi Valley District Park at 1 p.m., October 6, 2007.


            Mayor Mufi Hannemann will officiate as the building is renamed the "Akira Sakima Recreation Center." Councilman Romy Cachola introduced the resolution to rename the building, which was approved by the City Council on July 5, 2007.


            Also on hand will be Mr. Sakima's widow Jane, son Dr. Howard Sakima of Elk Grove, Calif., and daughter Ellen Higa.


            The center encompasses a gym, boxing facility, kitchen, complex office, recreation classrooms, and community meeting rooms.


            Mayor Hannemann said, "Having grown up in Kalihi, I am very familiar with the gym, having played and coached there. I also know firsthand the good works that Akira Sakima did for Kalihi residents, many of whom were immigrant families. I take personal pleasure in honoring this great man for his contributions to his neighbors and his community."


            Mr. Sakima was born October 6, 1918, in Hilo to Okinawan immigrants, Matsu and Kama Sakima. He died April 6, 2007.


            During his legislative career, he strongly supported public education, serving as chair of the House Education and House Higher Education committees. From 1984 to 1986, he served on the Board of Education.


            In 2000, the Japanese government awarded him The Order of the Sacred Treasure Gold Rays with Rosette for his contributions to strengthening the ties between Japan and the United States. His efforts included the transporting of 600 milking goats from Hawaii to Okinawa to provide food relief in 1949, a goodwill mission to Okinawa in 1960 at the invitation of the United States Civil Administration of the Ryukus, and a mission in 1963 to help develop Okinawa's agriculture industry.


            Active in the local Okinawan community, he was selected as "Uchinanchu of the Year" in 1985 by the United Okinawan Association of Hawaii.


            "I am grateful that my wife Gail and I were able to take our first visit to Okinawa with Akira, Jane and the rest of the Sakima family in 2006 to participate in the Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival. He was very anxious to share with me his affinity for his Okinawan culture and heritage," added Mayor Hannemann.


            Mr. Sakima was also a leader and supporter of numerous social and community groups in Kalihi. In 2000, Kalihi community organizations established the Akira Sakima Endowment Fund with the Kalihi Valley Community Foundation to endow programs for children and families in Kalihi Valley.






Bill Brennan, 527-6928


Friday, September 28, 2007

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