Karleen C. Chinen
The Hawaii United Okinawa Association presented five individuals with its “Legacy Award” on Dec. 4 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballroom. Over 400 people attended the event, which featured a silent auction as well as special entertainment honoring the five honorees. HUOA president Tom Yamamoto described the honorees as “five remarkable individuals.”
Honored were: retired public school educator and World War II Military Intelligence Service veteran Dr. Yoshinobu Oshiro; entertainment entrepreneur Roy Tokujo; Hui Makaala founder and Democratic Party leader, the late Tokuichi “Dynamite” Shishido; fine artist Seikichi “Chick” Takara and Living National Treasure of Japan in Afuso Ryu sanshin, Terukina Choichi-Sensei from Okinawa. The 2016 program marked the first time a recipient from Okinawa was selected for the award.
Each Legacy Award recipient was honored with a special plaque, a video presentation on their life and a cultural/musical performance of their choice.
Gov. David Ige, whose paternal roots are in Nishihara-Gaza, said the honorees are “Uchinanchu legends.” “Your contributions have affected so many,” he said.
Last October, Ige joined a contingent of over 1,800 from Hawai‘i who participated in the Sixth Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival in Okinawa. The governor said he was impressed by the gathering in Okinawa of some 7,000 Uchinanchu and Uchinanchu-at-heart from all over the globe to celebrate the Okinawan heritage. “What a small world it is,” he said as he recalled visiting the Heiwa Dori marketplace along Kokusai Dori in Naha and seeing Uchinanchu faces, yet hearing Portuguese, Spanish and a variety of languages.
The 2016 Legacy Awards banquet was co-chaired by Mark Higa and Valerie Kato.