Honaunau Japanese Language School
(Society for Kona’s Education and Art)
Built around 1900, this building housed the Honaunau Nihongo Gakko, or Japanese language school, until the onset of World War II in Hawaii. Although the school was reopened after the war, it fell into disrepair and was closed. It was thanks to a grass-roots community effort in the 1970s that the building was rescued, repaired and restored to the community.
In 1981, the South Kona Education Association was founded. As a community organization committed to arts education for Kona’s students, it has used the old language school as its headquarters. The organization is now known as the Society for Kona’s Education and Art.
Like the first missionaries, who built their churches from the ruins of heiau, newcomers continue to adapt old structures to suit new purposes.
Copyright 1998 Kona Historical Society. Reprinted by permission.