JCAH’s 7th Annual Nikkei Kigyo program honored Yamada & Sons, Inc. (established 1925) and Cafe 100 (established 1942) live on Na Leo TV on Friday, August 7, 2020. Originally planned to be a banquet dinner at Nani Mau Gardens, the program was re-engineered into a televised event in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The presentation may be viewed on the Na Leo website at http://naleo.tv/nltvexclusives/.
The Nikkei Kigyo Recognition Banquet was started six years ago to recognize companies of Japanese ancestry in East Hawaii. Many of these companies were started by first generation immigrants who came to Hawaii to seek a new future. They arrived with their creativity, willingness to work hard, and perseverance, to carve a place in our community for themselves and their families.
The program kicked off with a video performance from Puna Taiko. After introductory remarks by M.C. Lincoln Ashida, Reverend Hotta of Hilo Daijingu gave the blessing. This year’s event was dedicated to Bobby Fujimoto, Barry Taniguchi, and Brian Kitagawa - three iconic local businessmen and long-time supporters of the JCAH who passed away recently.
JCAH President Mike Miyahira led the traditional Kagami Biraki, or breaking of the sake barrel. L-R: Gloria Kobayashi representing Café 100, Donna Miller and Shellbylynn Yamada representing Yamada & Sons.
Café 100, home of the Loco Moco, was started by Richard and Evelyn Miyashiro. Named after the 100 th Battalion that Richard had served in, Café 100 was started in 1946 shortly after Richard was discharged. The family persevered through two tsunamis that destroyed the cafe’s two previous locations. Cafe 100 is now run by Richard and Evelyn’s granddaughter, Mari Kobayashi-Leung.
Yamada & Sons, Inc. was founded by Bob Yamada in 1925 when he was 16 years old. Starting as a trucking company that handled deliveries between Hilo and Laupahoehoe, the company later diversified into construction materials and civil contracting. The company is now run by fourth generation Shellbylynn Yamada and third generation Donna Miller.
After video presentations of the histories of both companies, the awards were presented to the honorees by Mike Miyahira and event co-chairs Jan and Roland Higashi. Gloria Kobayashi accepted on behalf of Cafe 100, and Shellbylynn Yamada represented Yamada & Sons. After congratulatory presentations from Mayor Harry Kim, state legislators, and the county council, the evening concluded with the traditional kampai and tejime.
These families and their companies have helped to shape the Big Island over the years. We wish them continued success and a long and prosperous future.
Thank you to all of our Sponsors for their financial support, as well as all of the members of the committee that helped to put this year’s event together. Special thanks to the staff at Na Leo TV for helping us transition to a televised presenta- tion in these unprecedented times.
Proceeds from this event enables our association to offer programs to our community to perpetuate our Japanese cultural heritage, and also to our Scholarship Fund which annually provides scholarships to students whose major or minor is in Japanese studies.
Thank you to everyone for your continued support of the Nikkei Kigyo program.
Roland & Jan Higashi, co-chair