Monthly Archives: September 2007

My Favorites

I need to liven things up.  I often write about issues, legislation, and my philosophy of life, but I also have fun.  So here is an entry of some of my favorite things in life.  More to come later!

My Favorites:

The month of December is my favorite because it is a festive time.  Besides, my birthday is in December.

As a kid, Christmas was my favorite.  However, now I put more importance on New Year's Day because that is when we prepare for a new year of fun goals.  In Hawaii, getting New Year's blessings and omomori (good luck items) at the Shinto and Buddhist temples is a tradition for many people.  There are even good luck food such as ozoni (mochi soup) and soba (buckwheat noodles).  I also enjoy family gatherings on this special day.  Finally, I pray to my loved ones and ancestors.

Seven is my favorite number.  It was my jersey number when I played soccer in high school.

I love all kinds of colors, but if I had to choose one, it would be blue.

I enjoy all kinds of food.  Japanese food is a favorite of mine.

I enjoy traveling, especially to foreign countries because I learn so much about culture, history, government, and of course food.

Simple Pleasure:
Hanging out at the beach.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Everything Will Be Okay

I dedicate this entry to all of you feeling sad.  

Cherish all your loved ones.  Enjoy all your favorite memories.   Look forward to many more wonderful memories.  Hold close all the positive things in your life and don't focus on the negative.  Work hard on the things you have control over and try to accept the things you have no control over.

In regards to love, if you experienced it, consider yourself lucky.  Some people never experience it or search for years trying to attain it.  A young child that dies, will never have that opportunity to even experience a taste of it.  There are adults who live for years without finding love.  If you are heartbroken, focus on the positive experiences you received from that relationship.  Understand that you are accountable for your actions, but you can't control the other person's actions.  Communication is very important, especially the words you choose.  Any relationship is a team effort.   There are a lot of good people out there.  I only wish all of you achieve true love.

In regards to death, when someone you care about dies, he or she will always be with you.  Their love will be with you forever and likewise, your love is with them.  Live your life to the fullest and carry on your loved one's legacy.  

For ourselves, we have to go for broke in all our goals.  It doesn't matter whether we succeed or fail, so long as we tried our best.  Appreciate our loved ones and the simple pleasures of life.  Help others.  Realize that there are bigger problems outside of our lives.  It pains me when I hear stories of violence.  If there was a way I could give you my happiness to make you happy, I would.  We may have a lot of time or very little time of life left.  So stay positive and live your life to the fullest.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

I Wish Everyone Happiness!

In my five years as an elected official in politics, I have met so many people of all types of backgrounds and personalities.  There is so much energy that gravitates towards politics, good and bad.  There are people sincerely trying to better our state.  Then there are people who complain and blame.  Sure, in a capitalist society such as ours, people want things for themselves, sometimes overlooking the greater society.  As politicians, we have to make our best decision to see the policies we create are in the best interest of the State of Hawaii and our country.

However, with the many people I meet, the most important thing I wish for them is happiness and to be at peace with themselves.  The same goes for my friends, I wish them true happiness.  I would give away some of my happiness so that they can be happy.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Three Prayers to Better Ourselves

I ask all of us to make three prayers to improve ourselves that will send shockwaves of good energy that will better our community and world.

First, pray to your teacher or teachers that taught you compassion.

Second, pray to your ancestors, even those you never met.  We are who we are because of them.  Thank your ancestors and also pray to those who suffered.

Third, pray to yourself.  Focus on good thoughts, which will lead you towards good actions.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Helping Others

We should make an effort to help others.  Try to save others even if you can't save yourself.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Peace Day 2007

Thank you to everyone who volunteered and supported Peace Day 2007.  Mahalo to the Peace Day 2007 Committee for everything.  It was a memorable and meaningful event.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Rep. Karamatsu speech for Peace Day 2007

Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu

Speech for Peace Day Hawaii 2007


It has been an exciting journey in establishing Peace Day Hawaii as state law.  This designated day encourages citizens to practice and celebrate peace.  We can all do this by doing kind acts everyday or getting involved in organizations that are determined to make our community and world better.


House Bill 345, which created Peace Day Hawaii would not have been possible without the support of the following individuals and organizations that are here with us tonight that provided testimony during the legislative process.


In our presence, we have:


Reverend Dr. Shin'estsu Mary David, Ms. Claire Tamamoto, and the members of the Hawaii Federation of Young Buddhist Associations;


Dr. Jeannie Lum of the Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace;


Ms. Rene Mansho of the Hawaii Lions Foundation;


Ms. Carol Pregill, President of the Retail Merchants;


Mr. Roger Takabayashi, President of the Hawaii State Teachers Association


Mr. Ian Kitajima, President of Jodo Mission of Hawaii


Mr. Bob Asato; and


Ms. Pat Blair


Can all the individuals and organizations I called, please rise and be recognized?


Also with us this evening, are two individuals I would like to recognize who are colleagues of the 2007 Peace Day Award recipient who we will announce shortly.  They served in the famed 100th Battalion, which were made of Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II.  The 100th Battalion, along with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and other units, sacrificed their lives despite facing racism and discrimination by their own country.  Many of these boys died so young in hopes of a better tomorrow for future generations.  Those who survived the war returned as heroes, yet their country still mistreated them, as they struggled to find jobs because of discrimination.  As a result, they got involved in the community, started their own businesses and firms, ran for political office, but most importantly, they shared their love with others.  Their efforts helped to transform Hawaii and the United States.  However, the struggle is not over.  Many of these heroes have told me that we must strive to avoid war and aim towards peace.  Mr. Robert Arakaki, president of the 100th Battalion asked me, “What do you mean by 'peace'?”  I looked at him, not sure what he was asking of me?  He pointed to his heart and said, “Peace starts from here.  Everyone must do their part.”  We must continue their legacy and strive to make our state, country, and world a better place.


I am honored to introduce:

Mr. Robert Arakaki, President of the 100th Battalion; and

Mr. Shigeru Tsubota, member of the 100th Battalion


Thank you.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Achieving peace starts with each one of us

Posted on: Friday, September 21, 2007

Achieving peace starts with each one of us


 •  Expressions of peace

By Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu

Today, Hawai'i becomes the very first state to celebrate Peace Day. Tonight's inaugural event for this annual celebration shows our state's commitment to promoting peace programs, improving international relations and increasing educational awareness of peace. 

Every year, more than 200 countries worldwide host Peace Day celebrations, each one unique to that country's special culture and traditions. Today's program will share an international message of peace while incorporating hula, the voices of local artists and performances by Hawai'i's keiki.

In July, we asked people statewide to create expressions of what peace meant to them through art and literature. Our committee was thrilled to receive almost 300 different submissions from people of all ages for our first-ever “Expressions of Peace” contest. Some used loud splashes of paint, bold peace symbols, sketches of the Earth or white doves. For many, peace was as simple as seeing the face of a loved one, relaxing under a favorite tree or sharing a meal with a good friend. They are displayed at the Capitol for the public to enjoy.

Looking at all this diversity of personal expressions made me think about how ideas of peace guide my actions in everyday life, and how even the seemingly smallest act can make a big difference.

It's easy to see working toward peace as a broad, generic objective. Likewise, world peace often seems like a distant, intangible goal. But achieving peace starts with each one of us. Just as a harmful act can have a ripple effect, hurting everyone around you, an act of kindness can create a more pleasant and constructive environment at school, work or home. Simply thinking about peace can also be very important in stopping cycles of violence between people, groups, communities or even nations.

Often, we just don't think about this in our daily lives. That's why I was so pleased when several high-school members of the Hawai'i Federation of Junior Young Buddhist Association approached me earlier this year with an idea for Peace Day in Hawai'i. The students worked hard to guide the Peace Day bill through the Legislature and see it become law. We chose Sept. 21 because it's the date designated as the International Day of Peace by the United Nations.

Celebrating Peace Day will bring awareness of organizations and resources in our community that teach and promote peace, like the Young Buddhist Association or the Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace. It can also remind us of the importance of performing more acts of kindness and thinking before committing hurtful actions.

How can peace be practical? Consider that the way you phrase your words can mean the difference between a confrontation and a cordial resolution. You could harshly criticize a person, which could cause them to retaliate. Or you could explain how their actions affected you and work out the problem together.

It may seem strange that even in the state Legislature, where we spend hours or even days debating our colleagues about certain bills, this approach is very important. As a young representative, I quickly learned that butting heads with others or “talking stink”will get you nowhere.

Of course, there will always be issues on which you and your colleagues won't agree 100 percent of the time. But thinking about your actions and learning to compromise was one of the most useful skills I've learned in the Legislature.

Finally, being conscious of our actions can make a difference on as small a level as a friendship, or as large a level as international relations. A leader of a country can choose to act irrationally toward another nation and lead his country to war. But leaders can also reach out to understand their enemies. Small acts of kindness, like being committed to resolving differences without violence, exchanging culture, promoting trade and showing respect for another country's traditions and ways of life may change the way civilizations view each other. Even a foe can become a friend.

I hope you'll join us with family and friends this evening as we celebrate all the lessons we can learn from simply being more conscious of peace in our everyday lives. Hawai'i is a very small part of the Earth as a whole, but together we're hoping to make our world just a little more peaceful.

Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu, D-41st (Waipahu, Village Park, Waikele), is vice speaker of the House of Representatives. He wrote this commentary for The Advertiser.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Peace Day Hawaii 2007 on September 21st

The Peace Day Committee, which I am chair of has planned an event to commemorate Hawaii's first Peace Day on Friday, September 21, 2007.  It should be an exciting  day.

Peace Day Forum (Hosted by Spark M. Matsunaga Institute For Peace)
Date: Friday, September 21, 2007
Time: 3:30 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.
Location: Hawaii State Capitol auditorium

Peace Day Ceremony (Hosted by Peace Day Committee)
Date: Friday, September 21, 2007
Time: 5:30 P.M. – 7:30 P.M.
Location: Hawaii State Captiol rotunda (Street level in the center of the capitol)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Shinnyo-en Dream #2

I woke up on the morning of Monday, September 17, 2007 from another dream regarding Shinnyo-en.  This time a cute Japanese girl who I believe was from Japan was guiding me in the teachings of Shinnyo-en.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Shinnyo-en Dream

On Sunday morning, September 16, 2007, I woke up from a dream where I saw the founder of Shinnyo-en, Shinjo Ito in his middle-aged years, sitting on a chair with blackness around him.  We did not speak to each other, but I had questions on his teachings on my mind.  Interesting?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Peace Begins With You

In order to achieve peace, it starts with each one of us.   Just as a harmful act sends out energy waves effecting everyone around, so too does an act of kindness.  Once you do a harmful act, it is too late; you cannot go back in time and change it.  We must clear our mind of evil thoughts to prevent ourselves from committing evil actions.  Rather, we must focus on good thoughts that would lead us to carry out good actions. 


We are accountable to our loved ones, ancestors, but most importantly to ourselves.  We must all be disciplined to control our emotions and be responsible for everything we do.  I believe in the following teaching of accountability that we must live by to make our world more peaceful.

1.         Right View: Believe in the law of cause and effect and not to be deceived by appearances and desires.

2.                  Right Thought: The resolution not to cherish desires, not to be greedy, not to be angry, and not to do any harmful deed.

3.                  Right Speech: The avoidance of lying words, idle words, abusive words, and double tongues.

4.                  Right Behavior: Not to destroy any life or steal.

5.                  Right Livelihood: Avoid any life that would bring shame.

6.                  Right Effort: Try to do one’s best diligently toward the right direction.

7.                  Right Mindfulness: Maintain a pure and thoughtful mind.

8.                  Right Concentration: Keep the mind right and tranquil for its concentration, seeking to realize the mind’s pure essence.


            So how does this teaching of self control and accountability apply in making our world more peaceful?  I will give you examples.


            The way you phrase your words can make all the difference between a confrontation and a cordial resolve.  You can come out criticizing the person on what you think he or she did wrong, which could result in that person retaliating.  Or you could tell the person how you were hurt and tell him or her you want to try and work it out together.


People get upset for minor reasons such as impatience.  When a person gets upset because he or she is impatient to wait for a car trying to park in front of them is another example.  They give their negative energy to a person who may be one of the kindest people.  Worse case scenario, that person retaliates and hurts or kills them.  So what does getting angry achieve?  Nothing.


            A person gets angry because he doesn’t like his life.  He wants power and control and takes it out on women by raping them.  The survivor of rape is emotionally impacted and so are the people who care for her.  The rapist did not control his mind and his actions, and he did not take responsibility for the suffering in his life.  As a result, he causes more people to suffer.


            Lastly, a politician can choose to hate his enemy and lead a nation to war.  On the other hand, a politician can reach out and understand his enemy.  Small acts of kindness such as showing your desire to resolve differences without violence, exchanging culture, promoting trade, and even praying to the dead souls of your enemy may change the way your enemy views you and your nation.  Even a foe can turn into a friend.


            We are not perfect, but we have to make an effort to do acts of kindness and avoid hurtful acts.  I am tired of people blaming others.  Instead, they should put the blame on themselves.  If they are so selfish that they cannot take responsibility and all they do is hurt people.  Rather than hurting others, I would rather they put their blame on me.  I will take their negative energy and convert it to positive energy to make our world better. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Cruel People on the Internet

It bothers me how people can be so mean to others.  The Internet is now a tool for a lot of people that intend to hurt others.  It is a venue for sexual predators, harassers, stalkers, and people who want to defame others.  They hide behind computers as they do their dirty work.

Recently, someone sent some pictures to various people, the media, public relations firms, and the Hawaii State Legislature.  The person or persons were determined to ruin the reputation of someone close to me.

Several years ago, I worked on legislation to make it tougher on people who commit crimes and defamation on the Internet.  Back then, a person impersonated and defamed a friend of mine by cutting her head from a picture and placing it on a picture of a naked body of another girl and posted it on myspace for all to see.  She used my friend's real name and phone number and pretended that my friend was soliciting sex.  Fortunately, she didn't put my friend's address like what happened to other victims as was stated in a legislative hearing.  We feared for my friend's safety.  As a result, I tried to incorporate language that made impersonation, stalking, and harassment on the Internet a crime if the act put the victim in fear of her safety.

I will also be working on making it more strict when one commits the offense of defamation and libel on another.  I want to also place more liability on the owner of the computer and server companies, especially if they don't cooperate with investigations.  I am also thinking of making a bill to require server companies to retain records for a longer time in Hawaii.  Finally, I will also draft a resolution to Congress to make stricter requirements on server companies nationwide on retaining records.

Unfortunately, none of my past bills on these issues passed.  I will be bringing back some of these bills and creating more bills on this issue for the the 2008 Legislative Session. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized