The Hawaii United Okinawa Association presented its 2015 Legacy Awards to four individuals and one family business. The event, themed “Yuziri,” which means “legacy,” was held Nov. 1 at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel. Honored were:
• Former Hawai‘i Gov. George R. Ariyoshi, who led the state of Hawai‘i from 1974 to 1986. Gov. Ariyoshi also engineered the sister-state relationship between the state of Hawai‘i and Okinawa Prefecture in 1985;
• Masakazu Teruya, kancho (leader) of the Shorin-ryu Hawaii Seibukan karate school and businessman;
• Community service leader Gwen Fujie;
• Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa; and
• The late Seiichi and Sachiko “Nancy” Toguchi, founders of the popular Hawaiian food establishments, Highway Inn. The Toguchis were represented by their son, Bobby Toguchi and his daughter, Monica Toguchi, who now runs the business.
Each honoree was invited to select a cultural performance that honored their recognition. Gov. Ariyoshi was honored with two songs by the Rev. Takamasa Yamamura of the Honolulu Myohoji Mission. Prior to becoming a Buddhist minister, Yamamura received professional training in opera singing. Teruya-Sensei’s students honored him with a demonstration of karate kata (forms). Fujie was honored with a song by Ukwanshin Kabudan. Arakawa was honored with a hula and an Okinawan song by members of Afuso Ryu Gensei Kai Hawaii Shibu, and the Toguchi family was honored with an Okinawan dance by Azama Honryu.
The Legacy Awards recognize outstanding achievements in the honorees’ fields and significant contributions to the Okinawan community as well as local, national and international communities.