HONOLULU – A traditional Japanese “dashi” float ceremony was performed Sunday as part of a memorial service at a cenotaph for victims of a collision between a Japanese fishery training ship and a U.S. nuclear submarine.
The Japanese ship sank in waters off Hawaii after the accident last year.
The float was carried by 35 people — including city officials and 20 high school students from Uwajima city, Ehime Prefecture. They moved the float to a spot near the cenotaph at Kaka’ako Waterfront Park in Honolulu for the victims from the Ehime Maru.
The float is in the shape of a bull demon, or “ushioni,” which has the face of an ogre and the body of a bull.
The ushioni is a mythical character famous in the region around Uwajima city.
The Ehime Maru belonged to Uwajima Fisheries High School. Nine Japanese, including four teenage students, aboard the ship died in the accident. Twenty-six others aboard survived.
The members also placed 1,000 paper cranes made by elementary school students in Uwajima near the cenotaph and offered a silent prayer.
Takao Matsumoto, an Uwajima city government official and one of the participants in the ceremony, said, “We dedicated our home-area’s ushioni with a wish that such a tragic accident will not occur again.”
The group is also expected to perform the ceremony at a local festival on Sunday as a token of their gratitude to Hawaiian citizens who have supported the families of the victims and others concerned.
The 499-ton Ehime Maru sank on Feb. 9, 2001, after being struck from below by the 6,080-ton nuclear sub Greeneville off Hawaii as the sub performed a rapid-surfacing drill for civilian guests aboard.
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