The 65th Cherry Blossom Festival was officially launched on Jan. 8, with the 15 queen contestants introduced at the New Year’s ‘Ohana Festival at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i.

Kokoro, the Japanese word for heart, mind and spirit, is the theme for this year’s festival. “Kokoro embodies the spirit of the Cherry Blossom Festival because it represents the heartfelt gratitude for all those who help to perpetuate the Japanese culture and heritage,” said 65th Cherry Blossom Festival general co-chair Kristin Alm.

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