NEWS RELEASE – for immediate release
March 10, 2022
Contact: Derrick Inouye 808-522-9200, firstname.lastname@example.org
Living Treasures of Hawai’i™ Selects 2022 Honorees
Honolulu, Hawai’i – An innovative Taiko artist. A giant in the field of Polynesian archeology. An award-winning kumu hula and musician.
The Living Treasures of Hawai`i™ has selected three individuals who have made signifiant contributions in their respective fields and positively impacted the quality of life in our local communities and the whole of Hawai’i. The honorees for this 47th year event are Kenny Endo, Patrick Kirch, and Keali`i Reichel. This recognition takes into account social and cultural impact, professional commitment, and character that embodies the values of our distinct and diverse homeland.
The Living Treasures of Hawai’i™, sponsored by the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawai`i, is traditionally conducted through a celebratory luncheon. However, due to Covid safety concerns, they will be recognized in a program that will be broadcast on Sunday, May 22, 2022 at 6pm on KHNL and live-streamed on the Hawaii News Now Facebook page and Thursday, May 26 at 7pm on KFVE.
The following individuals have been chosen as Living Treasures of Hawai’i™:
Kenny Endo is an acclaimed taiko drum master who applies his art form to create a more harmonious and compassionate society. He works to bridge cultures, demonstrate common values and practices, and sees taiko as not only entertainment but a tool for cultivating global understanding. He applies his mastery of taiko tradition to build unity around the world yet by his deep love of the islands his primary commitments are in Hawai`i.
Kenny has performed on six continents on some of the great stages of the musical world and has composed over thirty original musical compositions. He has released 10 CDs of original music and performed on over twenty other CDs with a multitude of musicians including Oedo Sukeroku Taiko, Hiroshima band, Nobuko Miyamoto (pioneer of Asian American music), John Kaizan Neptune and others. He has also worked on films/documentaries such as “Picture Bride,” “Apocalypse Now,” and “Avatar.”
Kenny and his wife Chizuko established the Taiko Center of the Pacific (TCP), a school to promote traditional and contemporary forms of Japanese drumming. They have successfully fostered the growth of a vibrant and enthusiastic community of thousands of students, performers, and followers. He was also instrumental in establishing Taiko Arts Center (TAC), a non-profit organization that supports the art of taiko and his vision of fostering peace through this genre of music. TAC has curated projects combining taiko with other arts and cultures, nurturing the next generation of taiko artists, and doing outreach to underserved sectors of Hawai`i’s community. Having studied and mastered the art of classical taiko in Japan, Kenny believes that taiko as a musical medium can bring people together in peaceful harmony.
Patrick taught for three decades at the University of California, Berkeley and returned home in 2019 to pass on his knowledge to future generations at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. He is a faculty member in the Department of Anthropology and in the Biocultural Initiative of The Pacific. His goals as a scholar are to build programs that create rich learning opportunities for local students and work with communities to preserve archaeological sites and promote cultural heritage. His current research focuses on the origins and settlement histories of Pacific peoples, the dynamic interactions between island populations and their ecosystems, the development of complex societies in island settings, and Pacific Island agro-ecosystems.
Patrick has published some 25 books and monographs, and more than 300 articles and chapters on the results of his research in the Pacific. His research focused on the archaeology, ethnography, and paleoecology of the Pacific Islands. Through his work, he has come to the belief that practitioners of archaeology, historical linguistics, human genetic studies, ethnology, soil science, and archival historical research can work together to give a fuller picture of ancient civilizations than any discipline alone could do.
He is a member of the International Center for Archaeological Research on Polynesia, based at the University of French Polynesia. As a member of the U. S. National Academy of Sciences, he served as a liaison to the Pacific Science Association.
Keali`i Reichel is a world renowned kumu hula, musician and recording artist, scholar and cultural practitioner, and community leader. Heralding from the island of Maui, he has been at the vanguard of Hawaiian cultural revival and sustainability. His passion and talent as a kumu is displayed in his students’ development of knowledge and artistic expression.
Upon graduating from Lahainaluna High School, he found Halau hula o ka Makani Wili Makaha o Kaua`ula with Kumu Hula Uluwehi Guerrero. He went on to form his own school, Halau Ke`alaokamaile and continued to study under Kumu Pekelo Day and Pualani Kanaka`ole Kanahele. At age 32, he recorded and released a collection of Hawaiian traditional and contemporary music entitled Kawaipunahele under his own label, Punahele Productions. He went on to produce three subsequent albums: Lei Hali`a, E O Mai and Meleana. His proficiency as a vocal and musical artist has led to numerous awards at the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards including Male Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year, Hawaiian Album of the Year, and Entertainer of the Year. He was inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame for his accomplishments as a vocalist, chanter, composer, kumu hula, choreographer, crafter, scholar, and teacher.
Keali`i grew up in Lahaina, Maui and spent significant time with his maternal grandmother in the town of Pa`ia. Through her he developed a passion for Hawaiian culture and became the founding director of Punana Leo O Maui, a Hawaiian language immersion school. He has also taught Hawaiian culture and language at Maui Community College and was the Cultural Resource Specialist and Curator at the Bailey House Museum. Keali`i has an expansive record of community service including being on the Board of Directors of Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation.
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ABOUT LIVING TREASURES OF HAWAI’I™
The Living Treasures of Hawai’i™ program was created by the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawai’i in 1976, inspired by the Living National Treasures of Japan. The late Bishop Yoshiaki Fujitani started the program at the suggestion of Paul Yamanaka, a local insurance executive, who wanted to honor those unique to the islands who demonstrate excellent and high standards of achievement in their particular fields and continue to make a significant contribution towards enriching our society. For more information on Living Treasures of Hawai’i™, please visit hongwanjihawaii.com/living-treasures.