Social worker Oshiro deemed a treasure

February 14th, 2011  |  by  |  Published in People

Masaru Oshiro wearing lei

Masaru Oshiro (MSW ’54 Mānoa) was named a Living Treasure of Hawaiʻi by the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaiʻi during its 36th annual awards ceremony Feb. 5, 2011.

Oshiro’s first experience helping others was as a volunteer case aid with the American Red Cross, assisting families of Korean War veterans.

During 12 years at the Queen Liliʻuokalani Children’s Center, where he served as social worker and executive director, he learned from fellow UH social work alumni and Honnpa Hongwanji Living Treasures Myron “Pinky” Thompson and Likeke Paglinawan as well as psychiatrist Jack Haertig.

Hawaiʻi was experiencing a resurgence of Hawaiian cultural practices and struggle for resource rights. When clients didn’t respond well to classic western social work methods, Oshiro encouraged social workers to explore other practices. They resurrected ancient healing practices and helped create the classic two-volume resource Nana I Ke Kumu (Look to the Source), which is still widely used.

Oshiro continued his involvement with the American Red Cross throughout his 40-year career, providing mental health support services in response to disasters from Guam to New York.

He was named Social Worker of the Year three times by the National Association of Social Work, recognized by Elizabeth Dole for his American Red Cross work and twice listed in Men and Women of Hawaiʻi.

Read the Mālamalama profile.

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