Saturday, November 28, 2015
Issei Memorial Snapshots at South Pacific Memorial Park - November 28, 2015
The Guam Nikkei Association (GNA) held an Unveiling Ceremony for the Issei Monument erected to pay tribute to the men who started Guam’s first community of Japanese-Chamorro families in the early 1900’s. Many came as copra plantation workers, merchants, farmers, fishermen, and laborers. They came from various prefectures near Tokyo in such areas as Kanagawa, Ibaraki, Tochigi, and Gunma. They married Chamorro women, learned the Chamorro language and adopted the Catholic religion as required in order to fully establish domicile. While some returned to Japan, the ones listed on the monument stayed and their legacy continues with generations of families today. All of them have died and the GNA cherishes their contributions to Guam’s rich history that we know today. The Unveiling Ceremony, which brought together many of the Guam Issei descendants, was held on Saturday, November 28, 2015 at 10:00 a.m., South Pacific Memorial Peace Park, Yigo, Guam. Through fundraising efforts and with support from the Consul General of Japan, Sumitomo Construction, Landscape Management Service (LMS), Architects Laguaña and the South Pacific Memorial Peace Park, the 5’ granite monument stands on a concrete base and lists the 53 names that the GNA believes are Guam’s Issei. Issei is the Japanese language term used in America to to specify the Japanese people who were first to immigrate.
The Guam Nikkei Association was chartered in 2012 with the primary purpose of perpetuating the history and lineages of those born from Japanese ancestry who are presently bona fide residents of Guam, educating the community about the impact and contribution of first generation Japanese and their descendants on the social economic fabric of Guam and to inculcating Japanese culture, art, traditions and history to succeeding generations of Japanese-Chamorro-Guamanians.