Words of thanksgiving offered by Bishop Matsumoto at Gannenmono event welcoming Prince and Princess Akishino

Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii was honored to be a part of a welcome luncheon held on June 5, 2018 at the Honolulu Museum of Art hosted by the City and County of Honolulu in honor of Prince and Princess Akishino of Japan on their first official visit to Hawaii. The visit was in conjunction with the 150th Anniversary commemorating the first arrival of Japanese to Hawaii.

Former Bishop and MIS veteran Rev. Yoshiaki Fujitani sat at the head table with the honored guests, the Consul General of Japan and his wife, and hosts of the luncheon, the mayor and his wife. Rev. Fujitani offered the Kanpai/Toast in honor of Their Majesties and Bishop Eric Matsumoto offered the following Words of Reflection and Words of Thanksgiving Before Meals.

Reflection and Words of Thanksgiving at City and County of Honolulu (Mayor’s) Welcome Luncheon for Prince and Princess Akishino of Japan

Please join me in a gesture of reverence & respect of your choosing for a Moment of Reflection and Appreciation.

Infinite Light-Immeasurable Life (AMIDA)/All-Inclusive Wisdom and All-Embracing Compassion,

As we gather for this Welcome Luncheon in honor of Their Majesties, Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko of Japan hosted by our Honorable Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Ms. Donna Tanoue at this most appropriate setting of the Honolulu Museum of Art where beautiful artwork from many different cultures and countries around the world are harmoniously displayed, may your Light of Wisdom and Compassion shine within our hearts-and-minds/kokoro so we may be inspired to reach out to others with kindness and compassion and we become open to wider horizons and deeper perspectives to guide us in our daily and global endeavors. It is essential, critical, that we realize the oneness of all life and the mutual respect that arises from that awareness. We cannot survive separately, only interdependently, by relying on and respecting one another-the truth of Interdependence. In Hawaii, we refer to the Spirit of Aloha.

Thus, in that spirit of awareness, before lunch, we also express our gratitude for the food we are about to enjoy in this auspicious company. May the sustenance received from it enable us to fully and with unselfish purpose live our life in a way that benefits both self and others for world peace, harmony and the well-being of all people of all lands. We express our most humble gratitude to the plants and animals for their gift of life and may we respond in gratitude by trying our very best in all of our endeavors.

To conclude, as we hold a grateful thought for the extraordinary relationship that began 150 years ago with the arrival of the Gannenmono between Japan and Hawaii, which can serve as a wonderful example for the world, may I ask everyone to please join me in expressing our appreciation for the precious food by repeating a Japanese phrase which means “I humbly and gratefully receive this food” and is pronounced “Itadakimasu.”