16 King Kekaulike jazz band members perform in Japan

King Kekaulike High School jazz band members Kevin Fukumoto and Hina Okabe display their names written in calligraphy at Daito Bunka University Dai Ichi High School in Japan.

Sixteen students with King Kekaulike High School’s jazz band and their chaperones, with instruments in tow, recently traveled to Japan to perform and make friends through music.

On June 2, the group traveled to Maui’s sister city of Fukuyama. With help from Stephanie Ohigashi, international students coordinator at University of Hawaii Maui College, the group made a courtesy visit at Fukuyama City Hall and was formally greeted and welcomed by the deputy mayor, deputy education superintendent and the Fukuyama Municipal High School principal.

Following the visit, the students put on a jazz concert at Fukuyama Municipal Junior/Senior High School and toured the grounds of the school, observed lessons and took part in English classes by introducing themselves and reading aloud various English vocabulary words. They were also treated to a traditional tea ceremony.

In March of this year, multiple families of KKHS band hosted students from the Fukuyama high school when they visited Hawaii as part of a short-term language program. The KKHS band officers organized a school visit for the 18 students.

The KKHS students made a visit to another Japan high school, Daito Bunka University Dai Ichi High School. There, they observed their names written in calligraphy, took a tour of the campus and participated and helped with the cleanup of the classroom — a daily routine in all schools in Japan.

At the end of the school day, Japan students go to clubs/sports classes. Band students from the Japan school joined the KKHS students to perform songs for one another and finally practiced, collaborated and performed a song together.

The band students and their chaperones also visited other cities, including Hiroshima, Kobe, Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo. Another highlight of their tour was visiting the seven-story high Yamaha Music Store in Ginza.