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1962 Club 100 Visit to Ryōzen Kannon


On October 1, 1962, 160 members of the first Club 100 (100th Infantry Battalion Veterans) group tour to Japan arrived on a chartered Pan American jetliner at Haneda Airport. The 23 day tour included visits to Tōkyō, Nikkō, Kamakura, Hakone, Atami, Shizuoka, Nagoya, Ōsaka, Nara, Kyōto, Hiroshima, Beppu, Kumamoto, Nagasaki, and Fukuoka. 

Members of the Club 100 Tour group to Japan board their charter jet at Honolulu Airport in 1962.

Members of the Club 100 Tour group to Japan board their chartered jet at Honolulu Airport in 1962.

Club 100 1962 Japan Tour Committee members Bob Sato (A), Calvin Shimogaki (HQ), Gary Uchida (HQ), Shinobu Tofukuji (Medics), Walter “Biffa” Moriguchi (A), James Kawashima (B), Masao “Stu” Yoshioka (B), Ronald Higashi (C), and Frances Okazaki (wife of Moichi “Monzuk” Okazaki (HQ)), received the gracious support of Pan American Airways representative Kazuo “Opu” Hiranaka (MIS) and Japanese business leader and philanthropist, Hirosuke Ishikawa, in coordinating a wonderful tour that members would rave and reminisce about for decades. As the owner of successful businesses such as Teisan Auto Company and Chūbu Sōgo Bank, Mr. Ishikawa arranged tour buses for the travellers, who were divided into 4 groups. The tour members greatly appreciated his involvement in providing them with royal treatment, respect and recognition as the 100th Infantry Battalion — “American Veterans of World War II Club 100” group, throughout their trip. 

One of the most memorable events of the tour was an elaborate memorial service held at Ryōzen Kannon (霊山観音) War Memorial, located in Higashiyama, Kyōto. Built by Mr. Ishikawa and opened in 1955, Ryōzen Kannon is a memorial for Japanese and foreign World War II soldiers who died to protect their countries. Mr. Ishikawa arranged for a sensō-kuyō ritual involving 1,000 priests at the 100th Infantry Battalion Memorial Service. In preparation for this, a soil removal ceremony took place during the 17th annual Club 100 Memorial Service in September 1962 at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl, and members transported the urn of soil with them, to enshrine at Ryōzen Kannon.

1962 Club 100 photos at Punchbowl and Ryōzen Kannon.

On a subsequent trip in October 1974, Club 100 members returned to Ryōzen Kannon and posed with a stone memorial and tōrō (stone lantern) that the club had donated. 

In 2013, our office was contacted by Dr. David Moreton, Associate Professor at Tokushima University, who learned about Club 100 while conducting research on Ryōzen Kannon. Susan Muroshige (daughter of Kenneth Muroshige (B)) corresponded with him at the time, and published an article about the memorial in the May 2013 Puka Puka Parade club newsletter. In June of 2023, our office once again received an email from Dr. Moreton in regards to the 1962 tour. He connected us with co-researcher Dr. Daniel Milne, Senior Lecturer at Kyōto University International Academic Research and Resource Center (i-ARRC) of the Institute for Liberal and Arts and Science in Kyōto, Japan. Dr. Milne has also been researching Ryōzen Kannon, and was interested to learn more about the 1962 Club 100 Japan Tour. 

On August 31, 2023, we welcomed Dr. Milne, along with his wife Chiyoko and their daughter Koharu, to our Clubhouse. Club 100 members who gathered to meet with Dr. Milne and family were Jeanette Akamine and Drusilla Tanaka (widow and daughter of Bernard Akamine (B)), Kazue Sato (widow of Bob Sato (A)), Alvin Shimogaki (son of Calvin Shimogaki (HQ)), Jan Sakoda (daughter of Gary Uchida (HQ)), and Amy Kwong (granddaughter of Eugene Kawakami (A)). 

Dr. Daniel Milne and family visit the 100th IBV (Club 100) Clubhouse.

Alvin brought wonderful photos from the tour, and shared that his sister June was one of the lucky children to go on the trip with parents Calvin and Ethel Shimogaki

Mrs. Sato shared that she and her two year old daughter (Barbara) flew with the Club 100 group in 1962, but they spent the time with her family in Hiroshima. Mrs. Sato did get to experience the grand arrival at Haneda, and said that after the group was greeted by Mr. Ishikawa and his wife, they were all caught by surprise when they were shown into a room where at least 35 members of the Japanese press were awaiting their arrival. The group was interviewed in Japanese and asked about their plans — they shared that they were carrying soil from Punchbowl Cemetery to Ryōzen Kannon for a Memorial Service to commemorate their comrades who died in World War II. 

Visit with Dr. Daniel Milne at the 100th Infantry Battalion Clubhouse.

Visit with Dr. Milne, his wife Chiyoko, and their daughter Koharu, to our Clubhouse. Seated (L to R) are Kazue Sato, Jeanette Akamine, and Alvin Shimogaki. Standing (L to R) are Amy Kwong, Drusilla Tanaka, Dr. Daniel Milne with wife Chiyoko and daughter Koharu, and Jan Sakoda.

Mrs. Akamine and Amy's grandparents, Eugene and Gladys Kawakami, were in “Group 1,” comprised of veterans and wives from Able and Charlie Chapters, along with a few wives like Mrs. Akamine, whose husbands chose not to join the tour. This was the first time for the three of them to visit Japan. Group 2 included Baker Chapter veterans and wives, Group 3 had veterans and wives from Dog and Headquarters Chapters, and Group 4 was called the “bachelor” group of veterans travelling without wives. We shared stories of how close the members became as a result of this trip, and how Group 1 gatherings were held for quite some time after their return. The 1962 tour photo and motion picture collections from Group 1 members Thomas and Dorothy Ibaraki (A) were donated to our club, and a short clip of a Group 1 gathering at the Kawakami residence with Ryōhei Ishikawa, son of Hirosuke Ishikawa, can be seen at the end of their video. Mrs Akamine shared how the group also had an option to extend their tour to visit Okinawa and Hong Kong. She joined this group, and visited with family during their brief stay in Okinawa. 

A 1962 Puka Puka Parade article handwritten in Japanese by Bob Sato was shared, and with the help of Mrs. Sato, we were able to translate his words — “if you were to ask me what was most memorable during our visit to Japan, I would have to say the Memorial Service with sensō-kuyō held for our fallen comrades at Ryōzen Kannon in Kyōto, and the close conversation we had with His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince and Princess at Tōgū Palace.” 

A printed speech delivered by Hirosuke Ishikawa at the memorial service reads, “Today, we assembled here at Ryōzen Kannon Memorial Hall to enshrine honourable three hundred forty-five souls of soldiers of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Combat Regiment of United States Army who took a part in the battle of Italy and France during World War II, and leading Allied Forces, rendered distinguished services. This has manifested real merit of Japanese race in overseas and yet brought an extremely good influence to the friendship between United States of Amerca and Japan. We Japanese express our sense of deep gratitude to your noble deeds and pay our hearty respects on this.” 

1962 Club 100 Trip to Japan and 1974 visit to the Memorial Hall at Ryōzen Kannon in Kyōto, Japan..

The time passed by quickly, and we had a wonderful time sharing our stories of the 1962 Club 100 tour with Dr. Milne and family. Upon his return to Japan, Dr. Milne was so kind to visit Ryōzen Kannon once again, to take photos for us to see how elements from Club 100 still remain a part of the site today. The Club 100 stone memorial and lantern stand outside Memorial Hall. The urn with soil from Punchbowl is enshrined along with soil or sand dedicated from other military cemeteries worldwide, and the photo of the soil removal ceremony held at Punchbowl is still displayed inside the hall. A copy of an article about Ryōzen Kannon published in our August 1962 Puka Puka Parade sits neatly on a desk for visitors to view. 

Dr. Milne also shares with us a bit about his extensive research on Ryōzen Kannon and his visit with us, in the below article. We are thankful that our club’s visit to Japan in 1962 has brought us together. 



By Daniel Milne, Ph.D., Institute for Liberal Arts and Sciences (ILAS), Kyōto University 

When, as a young university guide, I first came across the statue of Kannon at Ryōzen Kannon, it looked like a shining white face watching over Kyōto with a serene Mona Lisa-like smile. As I came to learn, this district was outside the boundary of the old capital, a peripheral area where people could farewell, pray for, and remember departed loved ones. Ryōzen Kannon drew on this history, and eventually came to watch over not only the war dead and bereaved of the city, but those from throughout Japan, of World War II Allies, and of the soldiers of the 100th Infantry Battalion. 

While the buildings and Cold War ideology its memorials reflect are a little out of date, the enlightened vision of its founder, Hirosuke Ishikawa, remains. By creating a Buddhist, non-sectarian temple, Ishikawa enabled many Japanese to honor their ancestors and former comrades without the wartime baggage of State Shinto or sectarian divisions. He then added memorials – one of few in Japan – dedicated to Japan’s former enemies. Firstly, he built a memorial to Allied prisoners of war who died or went missing under Japan’s watch and provided invaluable information on their fate. This expanded to commemorate anyone who died in WWII – friend or foe. 

Just years before he died, Ishikawa fostered relations with Hawaiʻi. In early 1962, he played an instrumental part in establishing a sister city relationship between Hawaiʻi County and Izu Ōshima (Ōshima translates to “Big Island”), the first for Hawaiʻi County. He also helped to organize Club 100’s 1962 Japan tour, which included an audience with Crown Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko in Tōkyō, and a memorial ceremony at Ryōzen Kannon in Kyōto. 

Photos of Ryōzen Kannon in Kyōto.

For the last year or so, my research has focused on Club 100's 1962 tour. It’s a wonderful example of the important role that Americans of Japanese ancestry from Hawaiʻi have had in postwar U.S.-Japan reconciliation. It also reflects Kyōto’s importance in diplomacy and as a symbol of peace and “Japaneseness” beyond national borders. What I wanted to better understand is how people felt about “returning” to Japan. For many, it was their first time to visit Japan after the war (or at all). The Japanese military had bombed Pearl Harbor, inflaming anti- Japanese sentiment. Did tour participants put this past behind them, use it to spur their reconciliation efforts, or still hold some animosity and uncertainty? As an Australian with a family, job, and nearly two decades living in Japan, I can somewhat sympathize with their situation. But of course, I cannot fully understand it. 

1962 Puka Puka Parade article displayed on desk at Ryōzen Kannon Memorial Hall.

Club 100 members, especially those who kindly answered my pesky emails and met me at the clubhouse during my stay in Honolulu this summer, have been an invaluable source of information and photos. Thank you all so much for filling (and entertaining) my daughter, wife, and I with mango mochi and other local delicacies during our visit! 

I learned how Ishikawa was just one important figure in the tour. Bob Sato (A), a true bridge between his community in Hawaiʻi and in Japan, and the other members of the Japan Tour organizing committee devoted untold time and effort to the tour. The tour was also a chance for people like Jeanette Akamine (Bernard Akamine (B)) to travel independently, learn about trends in Japan that were useful in her career, and meet family in Okinawa. It also helped bring the club community together, whether during the many gatherings and sightseeing trips on the tour or “Group 1” dinner parties at the Kawakami residence after returning home. Perhaps this was the tour’s most important legacy? When visiting the clubhouse, I learned firsthand that strong community ties continue today, enabling you all to carry on the story of the 100th Infantry Battalion and Club 100 to future generations. 


Originally published in the November 2023 Puka Puka Parade newsletter. Back issues of the Puka Puka Parade can be viewed online, courtesy of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa eVols digitial repository — the most recent issues available to the public can be viewed here: For more about the 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans Puka Puka Parade, please visit


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