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Founded in tragedy, the Goto Foundation seeks to strengthen ties between US and Japan

Japanese Foundation establishes endowed scholarship at UH Manoa

University of Hawaiʻi
Margot Schrire, (808) 956-6774
Director of Communications
Posted: Jul 2, 2008

"This generous contribution will carry on the legacy of Dr. Fumiko Kaya and her commitment to peace and understanding, creating a living endowment that will benefit our students in perpetuity."
-- Virginia Hinshaw, Chancellor, UH Manoa

HONOLULU - In 1899, a 27-year-old general store owner in the plantation town of Honoka'a on the Big Island of Hawai'i had been working hard to help Japanese laborers understanding their rights. He knew his actions jeopardized his personal safety. And his fears were justified. In a stunning display of racial hatred, prejudice and ignorance of the time, Katsu Goto was lynched.

In 1993, Goto's niece, Dr. Fumiko Kaya of Hiroshima, Japan, established the Goto Foundation of Hiroshima to honor the memory and legacy of her uncle and to transform a tragic event into a force to foster peace and understanding. On May 19, the Goto Foundation presented a gift of $135,000 to establish the Fumiko Kaya Endowed Scholarship Fund to assist students in the American Studies Department of the University of Hawai'i Manoa College of Arts and Humanities.

Dr. Kaya, herself a hibaksha, or atomic bomb survivor, died in 2004. But she was committed to the mission of the foundation, not only to honor the past but to contribute to international understanding and better U.S.-Japan relations, which reflected her vision of peace that is echoed in her beloved city of Hiroshima.

Members of the Kaya family and Goto Foundation officials traveled from Japan to attend the gift presentation ceremony. Also on hand were members of the local Goto of Hiroshima Foundation committee and representatives from UH Manoa, the UH College of Arts and Humanities and the University of Hawai'i Foundation.

The funding will provide scholarships to assist students in the American Studies Department at the UH Manoa College of Arts and Humanities who are pursuing interdisciplinary studies to foster volunteer activities and research which will contribute to world peace and to the promotion of mutual understanding and friendship between the people of Hawai'i and Japan.

"Dr. Kaya strongly believed it indispensable to promote mutual understanding and good will among people with different skin colors, different cultures and different languages," said Dr. Hiroyuki Hata, Chairperson of the Hiroshima Committee - Goto of Hiroshima Foundation. "She wished to prevent a recurrence of the unfortunate incident as that of her uncle. We decided to make this gift because we thought the University of Hawai'i would be the most suitable institution to which we can entrust this work to fulfill Dr. Kaya's will."

"Dr. Kaya never forgot those who needed help," said Dennis Ogawa, professor of American Studies and member of the Goto Foundation Hawai'i selection committee. "Our department is very honored to help her fulfill her goals, which were centered on peace and mutual understanding."

The University of Hawai'i Foundation is an independent, university-related, nonprofit organization whose purpose is to raise private funds according to priorities determined by the academic leadership of the University of Hawai'i and approved by the Board of Regents. Founded in 1955, the Foundation provides a full range of fund raising and alumni relations for all 10 UH campuses.

The Centennial Campaign is an historic private fundraising initiative to raise $250 million to support the University of Hawai'i's commitment to our students, our community and our world. For more information about the Centennial Campaign, please visit