The United Japanese Society of Hawaii honored 27 O‘ahu Nikkei who are celebrating their 80th birthday this year by throwing them a grand celebration. The UJSH’s 42nd annual Nenchosha Ian Engei Taikai (Senior Citizens Festival) was held Sept. 18 at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i’s Manoa Grand Ballroom. The birthday honorees were treated to lunch and a full program of Japanese and Okinawan music and dance.

The program began with the observance of a moment of silence for the deceased.

UJSH president Dean Asahina welcomed everyone to the event. The United Japanese Society of Hawaii holds the event annually in conjunction with Japan’s observance of “Respect for the Aged Day,” a national holiday in the country. Each year, the organization asks the various O‘ahu kenjinkai, senior citizen clubs and community centers to submit the names of members who are turning 80 that year so that UJSH can recognize them at the Nenchosha Festival.

The honorees were introduced individually during the program and presented a certificate. They also had their picture taken with Asahina and 2016 Cherry Blossom Queen Alexis Okihara.

Congratulatory messages were offered by Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Consul General of Japan Yasushi Misawa. Misawa said the celebration of longevity brought back memories of his mother-in-law, who lived to the age of 101.

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