Maui News

Maui HS Wins Honolulu Festival’s Maui Mikoshi Design Contest

February 1, 2017, 4:45 PM HST
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Maui High School is the winner of the Honolulu Festival’s 14th annual Maui Mikoshi Design Contest. The students’ winning cultural artwork will be on display before tens of thousands of residents and visitors in Honolulu during the festival, scheduled to take place March 10-12, 2017.

A mikoshi is a decorative float unique to specific prefectures in Japan that is carried by groups of celebrants during festivals. High schools in Maui were invited to submit a mikoshi design based on this year’s Honolulu Festival theme: “Cultural Harmony, a Journey to Peace.”

Maui High School is the winner of the Honolulu Festival’s 14th annual Maui Mikoshi Design Contest.

The Maui High School mikoshi entry was created by students under the guidance of Mr. Casey Watanabe and Mr. Richard Pacheco.

Participating students won a trip to Oʻahu sponsored by the Honolulu Festival Foundation, Hawaiian Airlines, the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui, Outrigger Enterprises Group, and Maui Ocean Center to showcase their winning piece.

This will be the fourth winning design by Maui High School since the contest began in 2004.


“Maui High School has developed a beautifully designed mikoshi that carefully ties together the unique cultures of Japan and Hawaiʻi in a well thought-out way,” said Tsukasa Harufuku, President & CEO of JTB Hawaiʻi. “We applaud the students for creating design elements that strengthen and bridge cultural diversity.”


Maui High’s mikoshi will be displayed at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center on Saturday, March 11, and then carried through Waikiki in the Grand Parade on Sunday, March 12.

Drawing inspiration from the festival theme, Maui High School’s mikoshi seeks to connect both Hawaiian and Japanese culture in an elaborate way, tying in symbols that represent forms of “cultural harmony” and worldwide unity. Below are some key components of the winning design:

  • The roof design consists of green ‘tiles’ of Konbu Maki (seaweed herring), which symbolizes a wish for scholarship and culture with a yellow center, subasu (lotus root), which symbolizes an unobstructed future.
  • The flag was inspired by the Japanese flag. The bento box design draws influence from the flag through a cluster of roe surrounded by seasoned rice.
  • The walls represent a diverse mixture of different foods coming together into a bento box to create cultural unity. The koi in particular, combined with a pineapple is strategically placed in the front of the mikoshi symbolizing the idea of putting ‘cultural unity’ first.
  • The banner’s background of the Japanese cherry blossoms represents the coming of spring and blossoming life.
  • The veranda features the Hawaiian eel and the Japanese sea dragon, together representing the theme’s ‘cultural harmony’ as both were considered sea gods in the respective cultures now dancing together in a unified spiral.


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