Gayle Tasaka, Aaron Masuoka, Tony Lau And Scott Goto

Sarah Pacheco
Wednesday - February 17, 2010
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In local author and illustrator Scott Goto’s newest book, The Perfect Sword, master swordsmith Sensei Masa and his apprentice Michio search high and low for a samurai worthy to wield their latest creation.

After meeting dozens of men who are too selfish, cruel or privileged, Sensei and Michio meet a low-ranking samurai named Takeshi who knows that “When one can, one should. Such is the responsibility of power.”

The same can be said for Goto and his buddies Aaron Masuoka, Tony Lau and Gayle Tasaka. The four Kalani High School alumni have used their friendship as a platform to launch a literacy initiative in Oahu’s public school classrooms and libraries.

“The news seems to be all negative now regarding the furloughs, so we thought maybe we could at least move in a positive direction,” says Masuoka, who works as a CPA with Tasaka in their downtown office.


“I come from a family of teachers,” adds Goto, “and I watched my mom spend thousands of her own dollars because of the budget cuts, and that was 10 years ago. And when I used to go and help her with the classrooms, I saw the books they used to use ... So this is definitely a good cause. It’s great that they started something like this, especially now.”

The group, which appropriately named itself “Friends of Scott Goto,” has partnered with Kalani vice principal (and fellow graduate) Reid Kuba in an effort to ensure students have educational and beautifully illustrated books for years to come.

“We know that sometimes families cannot afford to buy books for their children since they have so many other expenses,” Tasaka says, adding that they hope to expand the program to public libraries and children’s hospitals, and have made contributions to Wally Amos’ Read To Me program.

To date, the Friends has purchased 150 books, with the first wave of donations going out last week to Palolo and Royal elementary schools and Iolani.

“We’ve focused on Kalani because we thought maybe students from the feeder schools could see that someone from their area can succeed in this type of profession and be a good role model,” says Lau, a project manager engineer with Hawaii Pacific Engineers.

“It’s not a perfectly well-oiled machine,” Masuoka continues. “But we thought that maybe by doing this it would spur on other people or other schools to do something similar.”


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