Larry Kimura, internationally renowned “grandfather” of the revitalization of ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi or Hawaiian language, has been named a “Living Treasure of Hawaiʻi” by the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaiʻi.
Kimura is an associate professor of ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi and Hawaiian studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. He is one of four recipients
Kimura was honored for his extraordinary commitment to the preservation and use of Hawaiʻi’s indigenous language. The Honpa Hongwanji Mission recognized Kimura’s stewardship as a kumu or teacher of ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi for nearly 50 years at both UH Mānoa and UH
One of Kimura’s most notable achievements was helping to restore Hawaiʻi’s mother tongue in the 1980s when he co-founded ʻAha Pūnana Leo Hawaiian Lexicon Committee based at UH Hilo’s Hale Kuamoʻo Hawaiian Language Center.to digitize and archive spoken Native Hawaiian speech. He has collected approximately 525 hours of first language Hawaiian speakers recorded during the Ka Leo Hawaiʻi
A prolific composer, Kimura is also credited across 47 albums, tapes and CDs for his songs and chants. He served as one of the consultants in creating a Hawaiian language certification program for Hawaiian Airlines employees to encourage Hawaiian to be spoken and shared with passengers on board their flights.
Kimura’s love and passion for ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi is keeping the history, beauty and essence of Hawaiʻi alive.
For more, visit the UH Hilo Stories website.