comscore Big Isle man charged in murder of acclaimed artist Shingo Honda | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Big Isle man charged in murder of acclaimed artist Shingo Honda

A suspect has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Shingo Honda, a versatile 75-year-old artist who lived in Mountain View and whose work has been exhibited across the globe.

Hawaii County police arrested Michael Cecil Lee of Puna after spotting him at the Pahoa Christmas Parade on Saturday and chasing him down, according to a police news release. Detectives consulted with prosecutors and filed the murder charge last night.

Lee, 55, is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail and his initial court appearance is scheduled for Monday in Hilo District Court, police said.

Police found Honda’s body Wednesday night several hundred yards from his home after responding to a report of a missing elderly male in the Orchid Isle Estates subdivision.

An autopsy Friday concluded Honda died as a result of multiple injuries caused by blunt force trauma. The case was classified as a homicide, according to Hawaii County Police.

Honda, who was born in Niigata, Japan, was a prolific artist comfortable in a wide range of media. He worked in pencil, paint, paper, canvas, wood, concrete, rope, bronze and stone, according to his website.

Honda’s work has been exhibited across the globe, from the United States to Japan, Australia, Thailand, Australia and Sweden, as shown in a long list of exhibitions on his resume.

A former Zen priest, Honda described his inspiration in a statement on the website.

“I was born in Northern Japan — snow country,” he wrote. “As a child I was fascinated by the thin ice which formed on a puddle of water. I’d pick up the ice, so shiny and beautiful, reflecting the sunlight, but, in a moment, It was gone. It had melted in my hand.”

“I liked that transient, ever-changing world and it has always been what I’ve wanted to express,” he wrote. “The word ‘permanent’ is unrealistic. There is no such thing.”

Police are asking anyone with information about the case or who may have come into contact with Lee since Wednesday to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 808-935-3311 or Det. Todd Pataray at 808-961-2382 or email

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