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Ceremony Honors Spark Matsunaga Featured On New U.S. Treasury Inflation-Indexed I Bond


May 3, 1999

The U.S. Treasury's Bureau of the Public Debt today unveiled the new Spark Matsunaga $10,000 denomination Series I, inflation-indexed savings bond at a ceremony in Honolulu, Hawaii. The new $10,000 I Bond went on sale May 1, 1999. The bond features a portrait of Spark Matsunaga and a background vignette of him standing on the steps of the U.S. Capitol where he served for nearly three decades in both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. Participating in today's event are Mary Ellen Withrow, Treasurer of the United States, Matthew M. Matsunaga, Hawaii State Senator, and Joichi Saito, Chairman & CEO, Central Pacific Bank, and President, Hawaii Bankers Association.

Spark Matsunaga is one of eight distinguished Americans featured on the new I Bond. Matsunaga, born on the Island of Kauai, Hawaii, served with distinction in the 100th Infantry Battalion, the first Japanese-American unit formed during World War II; he received the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. After the war he graduated from Harvard law school, returning to Hawaii to practice law and begin his political career. He was among the Territorial Legislature leaders for Hawaii's statehood that was passed in 1959. In 1962, Matsunaga in the U.S. House of Representatives made the rights of immigrants, the welfare of veterans, and the defense of Japanese-Americans and other minorities his hallmarks. In 1976, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, supporting legislation to establish the United States Peace Institute, a research organization located at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. He was also a major proponent of the use of renewable energy sources and Soviet -American cooperation in space exploration. Perhaps, Matsunaga's greatest achievement in the Senate was obtaining redress for Japanese-Americans who had been unjustly interned during World War II. In 1990, he died serving in the U.S. Senate.

“Spark Matsunaga was a role model and leader throughout his life. He was a World War II hero and during his political career championed legislation to promote peace and achieve justice for all Americans,” said Treasury's Van Zeck, Commissioner of the Public Debt. “We are proud to be able to honor the country's past and at the same time help Americans save for their future.”

Treasury's new inflation-indexed savings bond is designed for Americans seeking to protect the purchasing power of their investments from inflation. I Bonds offer a guaranteed real rate of return over and above inflation. I Bonds are sold at face value and they grow in value with inflation-indexed earnings for up to 30 years. The I Bond earnings rate is a combination of two separate rates: a fixed rate of return, which remains the same throughout the life of the bond and a variable semi-annual inflation rate based on changes in the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers announced every six months.

Honored on the eight I Bond denominations are the following great Americans:

  • Helen Keller ($50) - author and advocate for individuals with disabilities;
  • Dr. Hector Garcia ($75) - advocate for Mexican-American rights;
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ($100) - prominent civil rights leader;
  • Chief Joseph ($200) - Nez Perce Chief & Native American leader;
  • General George Marshall ($500) - author of Marshall Plan & Nobel Peace Prize recipient;
  • Albert Einstein ($1,000) - creator of Theory of Relativity & Nobel Prize recipient;
  • Marian Anderson ($5,000) - world renowned African-American vocalist;
  • Spark Matsunaga ($10,000) - former U.S. Senator & Congressman, World War II hero.

The $200 and $10,000 I Bond denominations went on sale May 1, 1999; the other six denominations went on sale September 1, 1998. I Bonds can be purchased from financial institutions, through a payroll savings plan where you work or the new U.S. Savings Bonds EasySaver Plan. For more information on I Bonds and other new initiatives in the savings bond program visit: