800 people gather to commemorate Okinawa-Hawaii figure Jane Serikaku

800 people gather to commemorate Okinawa-Hawaii figure Jane Serikaku

A portrait of Jane Serikaku


August 20, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo

By correspondent Hanae Gushiken Higa


On August 9, a funeral and memorial service for Jane Serikaku was held at the Hawaii Okinawa Center on Oahu.

Serikaku served as the first female chair of the Hawaii Okinawa United Association (HUOA) and served as a managing director, acting as a bridge between Okinawa and Hawaii for more than 30 years.

Serikaku died on July 6 at the age of 79. Approximately 800 people attended the ceremony to commemorate her.

The venue was filled with flowers.


At the ceremony hosted by HUOA, Hawaii Governor David Ige, Honolulu City Mayor Kirk Caldwell, and Consul-General Koichi Ito read condolence messages.

These messages said things like: “Ms. Jane was a person who always cared about people around her, and respected each person like her family,” and “I learned a lot from her.”

One-by-one, people shared their thoughts about her.

Serikaku’s older sister Nancy and her three nieces performed hula. Afuso-ryu Gensei Choichi-kai Hawaii performed Serikaku’s favorite songs Jyuku no haru and Tinsagunu hana.

People attending the memorial service on August 9 in Hawaii

Serikaku is second-generation Okinawan from Maui who has roots in Nakagusuku village.


She served as a chair of HUOA from 1993 to 1994. As a managing director since 2006 she has been responsible for accepting and coordinating prefectural and municipal delegations visiting Hawaii.

She took a role as a coordinator between Hawaii and Okinawa and contributed to the development of human resources and the advancement of cultural exchange.


She emphasized on a daily basis that, “The future of HUOA depends on young people.”

Also, for more than 28 years she has coordinated high school student exchange programs between Hawaii and Okinawa. She even developed a project to send young Okinawans in Hawaii to Okinawa to learn the culture and history of their homeland.


Serikaku served as principal at Iliahi Elementary School for many years and received the Milken Educator Award in 1998.


Her daughter Michelle and her relatives said, “We are very proud of her achievement up to this point. We are thankful that the Okinawan community has supported her like family.”


(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)


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