Hui O Laulima recently awarded $9,400 in cultural grants to 14 individuals and organizations. The nonprofit women’s organization is an active member of the Hawaii United Okinawa Association. Hui O Laulima annually offers grants to individuals and organizations that promote and perpetuate the culture of Okinawa in Hawai‘i. In awarding the grants, HOL noted that each awardee demonstrated the potential to promote and expand the influence of Okinawan culture. The 2017 awardees are:

Photo of Holly Araki
Holly Araki
Photo of Kei Kobayashi
Kei Kobayashi
Photo of Kevin Kurosu
Kevin Kurosu

• Allison Yanagi (Azama Honryu Hawaii Buyo Kenkyujo): Airfare assistance to bring Azama Akemi-Sensei to Hawai‘i to teach local students and introduce the Azama style of dance to Hawai‘i;

• Allison Yanagi (Nomura Ryu Dento Ongaku Kyokai Hawaii Shibu): Airfare assistance to accompany her student, Yukiko Pierce, to Okinawa to take the Shinjinsho proficiency test in kücho;

• Yukiko Pierce: Airfare assistance to Okinawa to take her Shinjinsho test in kücho;

• Hui Okinawa Kobudo Taiko: Airfare assistance to participate in the HUOA’s 35th Okinawan Festival;

• Jimpu Kai Maui: Airfare assistance for Cheryl Nakasone-Sensei’s monthly classes on Maui;

• Jimpu Kai USA Kin Ryosho Ryukyu Geino Kenkyusho Hawaii Shibu: Airfare assistance for guest artists from Okinawa and California to travel to Hilo in conjunction with Jimpu Kai’s 40th anniversary celebration;

• Kauai Sanshin Club: Airfare assistance for sanshin sensei from O‘ahu to teach monthly classes;

• Kohala Okinawa Kenjin Kai: Airfare assistance for Ukwanshin Kabudan and Young Okinawans to travel to Kohala to provide music/drumming for the Hawi Jodo Mission obon;

• Kona Okinawa Kenjin Kai: Airfare assistance for three board members to attend the Loochoo Identity Conference in Honolulu in March;

• Maui Okinawa Sanshin: Airfare assistance for Keith Nakaganeku-Sensei’s monthly lessons on Maui;

• Maui Ryukyu Culture Group: Airfare assistance for two instructors to travel from O‘ahu for lessons in Okinawan music, dance and other cultural aspects;

• Ryukyu Matsuri Taiko Kohala/Waimea: Airfare assistance to bring O‘ahu instructors to the Big Island or to send their instructors to O‘ahu to learn new songs;

• Sally Sakaitani: Airfare assistance for monthly round-trips between O‘ahu and Kona for Keith Nakaganeku-Sensei to teach classes in uta-sanshin and shimakutuba;

• Ukwanshin Kabudan: Funding to continue offering Loochoo Studies, a series of workshops on Okinawan culture in Hilo, while continuing to build a self-sufficient community of cultural practitioners.

First Insurance Company of Hawaii recently announced four staff promotions: Holly Araki to assistant vice president of IT, Kei Kobayashi to assistant vice president of strategic planning, Kevin Kurosu to assistant vice president of commercial underwriting and Linda O’Reilly to assistant vice president of claims.

Holly Araki joined FICOH in 2014 as manager of customer applications after a 20-year career with Bank of Hawaii. Araki currently oversees the IT Development teams for FICOH’s new and legacy systems. She has also been an integral member of the team tasked with updating the company’s claims, billing and policy management platforms.

Kei Kobayashi has led FICOH’s strategic planning efforts since joining the company in 2015. He previously worked for FICOH’s parent company, Tokio Marine, where he was a manager in the International Business Development department in Tökyö.

Kevin Kurosu joined FICOH in 2004 as an associate underwriter in Commercial Underwriting. He previously worked at National Interstate and American Express Financial Advisors.

Linda O’Reilly joined FICOH in 1982. Her role in the Workers’ Compensation claims department has grown steadily. She has been the lead manager in charge of FICOH’s Workers’ Comp unit since 2013.


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