Home Community Oldest Kenjinkai in Seattle, Hiroshima, Thrives

Oldest Kenjinkai in Seattle, Hiroshima, Thrives

By Mimi Shiraki
NAP Contributor

Hiroshima, the oldest Kenjinkai in Seattle, gathered at Terry’s Kitchen on March 2 for the group’s annual New Year’s party.

The Hiroshima Kenjinkai was established in 1901. The current president, Tsukasa Namekata, has been running the Kenjinkai for eight years. He founded the Pacific Rim Disease Prevention Center and served as a clinical associate professor at the University of Washington School of Public Health, retiring in 2016 before becoming president of the Kenjinkai.

Every August, coinciding with the anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bomb, the Hiroshima Kenjinkai hosts a unique ceremony at the Betsuin Buddhist Temple.

Collaborating with the Jodo Shinshu temple, the Kenjinkai conducts a solemn memorial service honoring the victims of the bombing. During this time, Seattle also extends invitations to high school students from Hiroshima Prefecture.

The 2024 Shinnekai began with greetings from Namekata. Two scholarship awards were presented by two high school students. Commendations for longevity and hardship were awarded to octagenarian by Deputy Consul General Junichi Sumi. The party accelerated into entertainment; members and guests sang along with “Uye wo muite aruko” and “What a Wonderful World.” The event concluded with a bingo game complete with prizes.