Karleen C. Chinen
Aloha is that special Hawaiian word that expresses many sentiments. We say “Aloha . . .,” or “Aloha ‘oe,” in bidding someone special a fond farewell. And, we also say “Aloha . . .” when we greet and welcome someone new.
After three years as president of Hawaii Hochi, Ltd. — and nearly a year prior to that as the Hawai‘i representative of Shizuoka Shimbun, Hawaii Hochi’s parent company in Japan — Keiichi Tagata bid aloha to the company’s 35 employees, formally announcing his retirement at an all-staff meeting on April 10. Tagata said he was grateful for the support he received from the Hochi’s employees and business clients since assuming the company’s leadership in April 2012, when he was appointed to succeed Paul Yempuku as president. He said he was glad to have been able to celebrate Hawaii Hochi’s 100th anniversary with its employees and supporters in 2012. Inevitably, however, the soft-spoken Tagata said, “I want to continue my second life in Japan.”
Tagata, who worked for Shizuoka Shimbun for about 40 years, oversaw printing for the company for 10 years prior to his Hawai‘i appointment. He and his wife Mizuko plan to return to Shizuoka later this month after visiting Washington, D.C., and New York. He said they are looking forward to spending time with their adult children and two granddaughters and enjoying views of Fuji-san (Mt. Fuji) and the life of retirees.
“From the bottom of my heart, thank you again for your support and friendship,” he told the staff. “I will always remember fondly the aloha you extended to me.”
Tagata also announced that he would be succeeded by Taro Yoshida, Hawaii Hochi, Ltd.’s vice president for advertising. All of the management changes took effect on April 10.
During his tenure as Hawaii Hochi’s president, Tagata oversaw the acquisition and installation of the TKS JETLEADER 1500 printing press, the first of its kind in Hawai‘i — and only the third press like it in the entire United States.
The “Jet,” as we call it, is capable of printing color photos and graphics on each and every page — The Hawai‘i Herald was the first publication to be printed on the Jet, and we love it! And, after 102 years as a broadsheet newspaper printed mainly in black and white, our Japanese-language sister-publication, the Hawaii Hochi, switched to a tabloid format earlier this year and is now printed on the JET with color on every page. For making that investment in the look of our two publications, we thank Tagata-san and Shizuoka Shimbun.
Tagata was also instrumental in securing printing contracts for the U.S. editions of three prestigious Japanese daily newspapers — the Nihon Keizai (Japan’s version of the Wall Street Journal), Asahi Shimbun and Yomiuri Shimbun.
Tagata’s successor, Taro Yoshida, joined Hawaii Hochi, Ltd. last fall as vice president for advertising after a playing a key role on the management team of Shizuoka Shimbun president Go Oishi. Yoshida brings to Hawaii Hochi a wealth of business experience garnered in both Japan and Hawai‘i.
Yoshida grew up in the Shinjuku district of Tökyö and received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Keio University. After graduating from Keio, he worked for Shinsei Bank, Ltd., where he rose to the position of manager of its Tökyö Corporate Finance Division.
After eight years with Shinsei Bank, Yoshida went to work for WDI Corporation, serving in various positions — operating officer/general manager of its corporate strategy development division and supervisor of WDI’s fine dining division. Yoshida’s work with WDI brought him to Hawai‘i in 2008, when he was appointed director of administration and district manager for two of the company’s Hawai‘i restaurant holdings, including the popular Wolfgang’s Steakhouse.
In 2011, he joined Accordia Golf Co., Ltd. as senior manager of its golf course acquisitions and restaurant operations divisions. In that capacity he was responsible for golf course acquisitions in Hawai‘i.
Shizuoka Shimbun president Go Oishi thanked Tagata for his service to Hawaii Hochi, Ltd. He said although he had hoped that Tagata would remain with the Hochi for a longer period of time, Tagata expressed his desire to return to Japan and enjoy his retirement. Oishi said Yoshida’s familiarity with Hawai‘i, his love for the Islands and his desire to return Hawai‘i, coupled with his extensive business and financial knowledge and experience, made Yoshida a natural pick to succeed Tagata.
Oishi acknowledged that Yoshida is bringing a more aggressive business style to the Hochi, which he fully supports. “If we don’t change our thinking, things will not improve,” Oishi said, through translator Grant Murata, who is Hochi/Herald advertising and promotions manager. He encouraged the staff to be innovative in their thinking and to work together as a team.
Taro Yoshida said he is honored to lead Hawaii Hochi, Ltd. He said the move back to Hawai‘i had the “wholehearted support” of his family. While acknowledging Hawaii Hochi’s long and proud history, he said history alone would not carry the company into the future. He said Hawaii Hochi must change if it hopes to exist in the future.
Yoshida concluded his comments by sharing one of his favorite Hawaiian words — ‘ohana, meaning family. “I consider all of you my ‘ohana,” he said.