Comparative studies on Hawaiian "Heiaus" and similar Japanese rock formations

Prof. Nobuhiro Yoshida

On the fields of Puukohara and Honaunau, the Big Island of Hawaii, there are several huge types of rock features, "heiau", heaped rock formations dedicated to divinities and spirits. The biggest one is about 2 meter high, 30 meter wide and 50 meter long, and it looks like a big swimming pool built on the top of a hill.The rock formation used to be a sacred place, where religious ceremony or some rituals were held by the native priests of a certain tribe. The oldest type of heiaus can be seen at the King's trail petroglyph field, Waikoloa, Hawaii, where abandant of petroglyphes are carved. There is no record of who made those rock features and rock art, but local legends say that a certain kind of tribes, Minehune, little people, were the builder of those rock features.

According to the heaped up studies by scholars of University of Hawaii and U.C.L.A. as well as the staff of the Bishop Museum, Honolulu, several of Hawaiian heiaus were built by the seafarers, who came from the Tahiti island and other Polynesian islands in the latter stage of prehistoric ages, while most of original type of heiaus and petroglyphs are said to have been made by those who came from the west of the Pacific Ocean in latter part of prehistoric ages, although their home-land has not been known yet.