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Symbol of friendship

New stamp honors Hawaii attraction

People hold stamp artwork in front of temple
Participants at the special dedication ceremony display Byodo-In Temple stamp artwork near the landmark building. From left are Dennis Boser, area general manager, Valley of the Temples Memorial Park; Kaneohe Postmaster Kanani Alos; Carole Hayashino, Japanese Cultural Center president and executive director; and Glen Sears, Byodo-In Temple project engineer and overall project manager.

To Carole Hayashino and many other residents of Hawaii, the Byodo-In Temple is much more than a building.

The temple, located in Kaneohe on the island of O’ahu, also symbolizes many of the things that make Hawaii unique.

“While this beautiful Byodo-In Temple today stands as a symbol of Japanese culture and tradition, it is also a symbol of friendship between Japan and Hawaii,” said Hayashino, president of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii.

Hayashino spoke at a special dedication this week for the Byodo-In Temple stamp, a $6.70 Priority Mail stamp that features a colorful illustration of the popular tourist attraction.

USPS issued the stamp, along with a $24.70 Priority Mail Express stamp, Jan. 21.

The temple is a smaller-scale concrete replica of a wooden Buddhist structure located in Uji, Japan, that dates to the middle of the 11th century. The Hawaii Byodo-In Temple was built in 1968 to commemorate the centennial of the first Japanese immigration to Hawaii.

“This temple represents and recognizes the spirit of the … first generation of immigrants from Japan who paved the way for future generations of Japanese in Hawaii,” Hayashino said.

Kaneohe Postmaster Kanani Alos said having a local landmark on a stamp is special.

“Until a new Priority Mail stamp is issued next year, anyone in the U.S., from Maine to Manoa, from Kaneohe to Kansas City, can share the beauty of the Byodo-In Temple by using this stamp,” she said.

Byodo-In Temple is one of two new stamps that have Hawaiian connections. USPS also dedicated its Year of the Dog stamp — the latest entry in the Celebrating Lunar New Year series — in Honolulu this month.

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