The East-West Center Japanese Garden

Designed by noted landscape architect, Kenzo Ogata, the East-West Center Japanese garden, which adjoins Imin Center-Jefferson Hall, was completed in November of 1963 and formally presented to the Center by Taizo Ishizaka, president of the Federation of Economic Organizations of Tokyo. During a trip to Hawai’i in 1964, Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko of Japan blessed the garden during a traditional hold and release ceremony of koi (a gift from the Hawai’i Goldfish and Carp Association) into the garden stream.

Since the early days of the East-West Center,  the Japanese Garden has been one of the common places where students meet soon after returning from their respective academic departments at the University of Hawai’i. The main attraction of the Japanese Garden are the colorful fish that swim around the garden’s pond. The water’s calm surface is often ruffled by the colorful carp, symbol of valor because it fights its way upstream with persistence.

The pond and the fish that inhabit it are an intrinsic element of our Japanese garden, itself an iconic symbol of the Center in the larger community. As such, the maintenance of an appearance worthy of its prominence is, of course, a high priority. The East-West Center expresses its gratitude for the generous donation of time and expertise in service to the rehabilitation of our pond to Dr. Allen Riggs and Dr. Clyde S. Tamaru.

Dr. Riggs is the aquaculture veterinarian with the Aquaculture Development Program – Hawaii Department of Agriculture and has been in this position since July 2005. He received his BS in Animal Science and DVM from Mississippi State University and a MS in Aquatic Animal Medicine from Texas A & M University. Allen has aquaculture experience in private sector consulting as well as extension/academic positions with the University of Florida before coming to Hawaii. He holds current veterinary licenses in Mississippi, Florida, and Hawaii and is also USDA/APHIS accredited.

Dr. Tamaru is an aquaculture specialist at the Department of Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering,  College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawai’i, where he has been affiliate graduate faculty since 2006. He received his BS in Biology in 1976 and his MS in Zoology in 1981 from the University of Hawai’i. In 1988 he completed a PhD at the Department of Fisheries at the University of Toyo. Also, he is associate editor of the Journal of the World Aquaculture Society since 2005.

It is important to point out that the rehabilitation work of Dr. Tamaru at the East-West Center Japanese Garden is an exemplary expression of the spirit of community and cooperation that the East-West Center and the University of Hawai’i. In an effort to strengthen this already-close collaboration and increase operational efficiencies, the University of Hawaiʻi System President David McClain and East-West Center President Charles E. Morrison formed the UH-EWC Cooperative Committee in May 2009. The UH-EWC Cooperative Committee is charged with examining means the two institutions can take to reduce or share expenses and better complement each other‘s activities such as the rehabilitation work done at the the pond of the Japanese Garden.

The  willingness to contribute energy and talents to ensure the continued prestigious stature of this landmark is an exemplary expression of the spirit of community and cooperation that the East-West Center and the University of Hawai’i seek to foster as the Center observes its 50th anniversary this 2010.


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