Memorial Service for Masumi Watanabe

April 12, 2008

"The Church of the Ali'i"


On behalf of Masumi Watanabe's family, our deepest gratitude to all
those who attended and helped at Masumi's memorial service.
A warm aloha to Kahu Curt Kekuna and all the helpers from
Kawaiaha'o Church who extended their warmest hospitality.

Condolence Letters

From Federal, State and Honolulu County Representatives

"Masumi Makes Rainbows"

A poem by James Hale Tucker II

Photo Gallery

By Andrew Shimabuku, The Honolulu Advertiser

Honolulu Newspaper and Television Reports

"Hawaii rites honor slain Japan woman"

Honolulu Advertiser 4/13/08 By: Will Hoover, Photo Gallery

"Embraced by Love"

Honolulu StarBulletin 4/13/08 By: Gene Park

"Masumi Watanabe's memorial service"

KGMB9: Video 4/12/08 By: Terry Hunter

"Masumi Watanabe's memorial"

KHON2: Video 4/12/08 By: Tammy Mori

"Hundreds remember a girl never found"

KITV: Video 4/12/08 By: Deby Fawcett

"Hundreds attend memorial for Masumi Watanabe"

KHNL: Video 4/12/08 By: Diane Ako & Taires Hironaka

"Masumi's death felt across ocean"

Honolulu Advertiser 4/12/08 By: Will Hoover

"After our recent return from visiting our ancestral roots in Japan, we saw news coverage of the memorial service for Masumi Watanabe at Kawaiaha'o Church. Our firsthand experience of Japanese customs and tradition was heartwarming. However, the warmth of our people — the kahu of Kawaiaha'o Church, the mayor of Honolulu, the prosecutor, the police officers and the more than 200 people of diverse backgrounds — at the memorial service was beyond words."

Harold and Patsy Matsuura; Hilo, Hawai'i
(reprinted from the Honolulu Advertiser letter to the editor: 4/17/08.

Eulogy for Masumi Watanabe at her Memorial Service

By: Mr. Hideichi Watanabe, Masumi's father

One behalf of my family, I would like to express our appreciation for your attendance to Masumi's memorial service today.

We would also like to thank all the volunteers who helped coordinate this service at such a beautiful, historical place like Kawaiaha'o Church.

One year ago on April 12, 2007, Masumi suddenly disappeared on the North Shore of Oahu. We appreciate all your prompt efforts to help find Masumi; the people of Pupukea, the Honolulu Police Department and the people of Hawai'i.

Friends and relatives of Masumi and our family friends folded a thousand paper cranes in hoping that she would come home safely.

My best friend initiated this project and asked those who have known Masumi to complete the project. He was then seriously ill and died 4 months later without seeing Masumi again. He was just 50 years old. During this short period, I lost two of the most important people in my life. I feel such great sadness and regret.

Masumi's 21 year short life often comes to me as a flashback. Memories such as our family trip to Mount Fuji, trip to Tokyo Disneyland, and a ski trip. Masumi did not ski well the first time, of course, she fell a lot; however, she was determined to learn how to ski by practicing with me.

She was very shy and quiet and did not talk to strangers. It took time for her to make friends; however, once she knew the person, she enjoyed conversing with a big smile. We wish we could have done many things with her in Hawaii.

Our only regret now was that we did not take her to Waikiki or Ala Moana where most tourists enjoy beach activities, shopping and dining out.

However, today we meet with warm and thoughtful people in Hawaii like the Reverend Kekuna and everyone here, surrounded by the beautiful flowers of Hawaii. I am certain that Masumi rests in peace with God now.

Thank you very much for coming today.

Hideichi and Fumiko Watanabe, Masumi's parents