Members of the Hawaii Fukuoka Kenjin Kai came together at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, for their annual general membership meeting and shinnen enkai. Special guests included former Hawai‘i Gov. George Ariyoshi, whose family roots are in Fukuoka, and his wife Jean; Consul General of Japan Yasushi Misawa and his wife Yoko; and state Sen. Brian Taniguchi, who visited Fukuoka for the first time last year after learning that his maternal grandfather had emigrated from prefecture. Taniguchi also offered the day’s kampai toast.

The program began with a moment of silence to remember kenjinkai member Floyd Shiraishi, who passed away recently.

The kenjinkai had a busy 2015, participating in their own activities as well as those of the United Japanese Society of Hawaii, of which the Hawaii Fukuoka Kenjin Kai is a member.

Attendees also listened as 11-year-old Ashley Tsutsumi reported on her “Short Stay” visit to Fukuoka. “I had a great experience,” said the Niu Valley Middle School sixth grader. She said she enjoyed meeting with participants from countries such as Colombia and Canada and visiting Nakashogakko.

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