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President's message

I hope this newsletter finds you all healthy and joyous as Summer draws to a close and the Big Island’s rainy season will soon be upon us. Having said this, please stay dry and drive safely should this Winter be wetter than most.

The Covid situation has turned into a dreaded nightmare that never goes away. When will it end? Due to the emergence of the current Covid Variant, your Japanese Community Association of Hawaii has decided to avoid holding all large in-person events and is hoping that in-person events will begin again soon. Your JCAH Board has held in-person meetings and have been involved in scaled down events or do not involve the General Public. I will highlight a few of them.

The Shibukawa/Hawaii Student Artwork Exchange Program was successfully completed. Artwork from E. B. deSilva School and Shibukawa City student were exhibited in Japan and in Hilo at the Hawaii County Aupuni Center. The Hilo exhibit was held in April in conjunction with the Merrie Monarch Festival. Chairperson for this Student Exchange Program is Aya Shehata.

To promote Japanese Culture, JCAH spearheaded a video program of the Hawaii Japanese Center, utilizing Na Leo TV. Playing a key role in this program were Japanese Club students of both Hilo High School and Waiakea High School. Chairperson for this event was also Aya Shehata.

Scholarships were awarded to Liza Miyazaki, daughter of Junshin Miyazaki and Liang Zhang, and Daichi Marquis, son of David and Yuko Marquis. Chairperson for this Scholarship Committee is Dean Fuke.

Your Japanese Community Association of Hawaii is the sponsoring organization of Ikaho, now known as Shibukawa City, Sister-Relationship with the County of Hawaii. Due to Covid, representatives of the Ikaho Hawaiian Festival Committee were not able to attend this year’s Merrie Monarch Festival. Therefore, I represented them and presented them at the festival. I also had the opportunity to be a part of County of Hawaii Mayor Mitch Roth’s Sister-City Delegation to Shibukawa City and represented JCAH at the Ikaho King David Kalakaua “the Merrie Monarch” Festival.

The 83rd Annual Ireisai Hoyo Memorial Service was held on August 28th at Alae Cemetery. Reverend Satoshi Tomioka of Puna Hongwanji Mission lead the service which was attended by Deputy Consul General of Japan, The Honorable Mikio Izawa, County of Hawaii Mayor, The Honorable Mitch Roth, Hawaii County Council Members Aaron Chung, Sue Lee Loy & Heather Kimball, Temple ministers, organization representatives and volunteers helping with the event. Co-Chairpersons for this event were Delbert Nishimoto & Hiroshi Suga.

This service is held annually to honor our Issei, the First-Generation of Japanese immigrants, that came to Hawai`i in search of a better life and to support their families in Japan. Today, it’s hard for us to imagine them making this difficult decision to leave their homeland to face the vast unknown and work in a foreign land but they did just that. This monument pays tribute to all these brave individuals.

As found in today’s program, it was Mr. Sanji Abe’s tireless efforts that brought to fruition the construction of the original Ireito monument in 1939. As if this was not enough, in 1968, Mr. Abe established a personal trust fund to perpetuate its maintenance. I am glad and honored that Sanji’s great grandson, Tim Abe, was here at the service.

The Annual JCAH Kenjinkai Golf Tournament is taking place on September 20th. Tournament results were not available when composing my message. Many thanks to all the volunteers and organizations for participating in this event. Chairperson for this event is Ivan Nakano.

The Imperial Decoration, The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays, with Neck Ribbon is a national decoration awarded by the Japanese Government to prominent national citizens. Since 1981, this award became open internationally to individuals who have made significant contributions to perpetuating Japanese culture, promoting international relations and preserving the environment. Please join me in congratulating Mr. Arthur Katsumi Taniguchi for being the recipient of this prestigious award.

Lastly, my term as your President is coming to an end and the dawn of the new Presidentship of Mr. Lincoln Ashida leadership is about to shine brightly. Information regarding the upcoming Japanese Community Association of Hawaii’s Shinnen Enkai & Installation will be forthcoming.

Once again, thank you for allowing me to serve as President of such an illustrious organization.

Domo Arigato Gozaimasu.

Photos from top to bottom: President Dwayne Mukai who spoke at the Annual Ireisai Hoyo Memorial Service; Hawaii Student Artwork Exchange Program held at the County Aupuni Center; Members of Ka Lei Mokihana O Leina’ala, who were invited to the Ikaho Hawaiian Festival held in Shibukawa, Japan; Medal and pin of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays, with Neck Ribbon, cited from a web site of the Japanese Government.

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