Consulate Activities


Symposium on the Shuri Castle Restoration

 The Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu, together with the University of Hawaii Center for Okinawan Studies, co-hosted a symposium, "Shuri Castle: History, Digital Reconstruction and Public Memory of a World Heritage Site“ in Hilo and Honolulu. The symposiums were well attended with about 50 people at the University of Hawaii at Hilo on Saturday, October 22, and approximately 130 people attending on Sunday, October 23 at the East-West Center in Honolulu.

 The event began with a presentation by Dr. Masato Ishida, Director of the Center for Okinawan Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, "Shuri Castle: A Historical and Cultural Overview," followed by a presentation by guest speaker, Dr. Rei Kawakami of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, the founder of the "Our Shuri Castle Project”. Her lecture, "Shuri Castle: History, Digital Reconstruction and Public Memory of a World Heritage Site", covered the background of the project and the technology to preserve cultural properties digitally.

 Shuri Castle in Okinawa, one of the UNESCO World Heritage designated Castles of the Ryukyu Kingdom sites, was destroyed in a massive fire that occurred on October 31, 2019. Dr. Kawakami and her team then launched a project to collect about a million photographic and video images, which they sorted and combined with specially written algorithms to create a precise 3-D model of the castle. 

 Although a the project was technology based, a large part of Dr. Kawakami’s presentation was dedicated to the many of the heartwarming memories and stories about Shuri Castle collected from people around the world who submitted photos for the project. One person, who attended the symposium, commented, “Digital technology seems to isolate people, but this project used digital technology to connect people around the world. I felt it was a new way to use technology”.  

 As part of its diplomatic activities to share and promote the understanding of Japan and its culture to the local community, the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu has been holding various programs introducing Japanese culture. It was the first time that Japanese Consulate and the University of Hawaii, the Center for Okinawan studies co-hosted the event together.
Dr. Masato Ishida
Dr. Rei Kawakami
Symposium at the East-West Center in Honolulu