Donor Stories

Dr. Edison H. and Mrs. Sallie Y. Miyawaki Family

Punahou is grateful for the generosity of the Miyawaki family, whose meaningful and timely capital gift is recognized at the Case Middle School. We share below Dr. Edison H. Miyawaki¹s own words, memorialized in a legacy plaque mounted at Case Middle School, about his inspiration for giving to Punahou.
"My grandchildren never met their great-grandfather, who was my father. They never knew him, and at their young present age, they can barely appreciate what he did in his full life. They can¹t understand what it means to emigrate from Japan as a teenager in the early 20th century; to start a construction business in Hawaii, which was then an American territory, with little knowledge of English; to survive a world war in which the Japanese were the enemy of the nation; to raise a family on this island; and, at last, to succeed in life.
"When I ask my grandchildren about what they would like to know about my father, they ask me what kind of man he was. I find this question hard to answer. To say he was a great man seems trite. He was a man of curious and abiding interests. He looked a lot at the buildings ­ he actually studied the buildings that he built for people. I think he would be proud of this building, and he wouldn't mind that it was a gift to a great school given by his descendants.

"My father believed that education was a kind of freedom. Education was not a birthright, nor could it be merely purchased. It had to be earned. In education, one could fail, but one must always try, because one always seeks to be free of limitations, such as ignorance, and the desire for such freedom makes one try and try again.

Speaking for myself in my life, I did what I could. Among my accomplishments, I can say that I sent my only son to this school, and I am proud of that. He is a doctor and a teacher now, and he tells me, as if I had never heard it before, that education is a kind of freedom. I have told him that his grandfather said the same thing to me.

"Our family is now in its fourth generation in America. I will not see the fifth generation, but those future children might remember me as a person of curious and abiding interests, among them a desire to have contributed to a place, even as simple as a building, where one can yearn to be free."