The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i recognized six individuals, organizations and volunteers at its annual “Sharing the Spirit of Aloha” gala on June 17 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Coral Ballroom.

The honorees were recognized for their dedication to culture and the arts, commitment to the promotion of Japanese culture, contributions to the community, leadership in promoting local food and culture in Hawai‘i and their contributions to the foundation of JCCH.

Recognized were: Kenny and Chizuko Endo, founders of the Taiko Center of the Pacific; JTB Hawaii, Inc., represented by its president and CEO Tsukasa Harufuku; Kaua‘i Kookie founders Norman and Mabel Hashisaka; Nalo Farms founder Dean Okimoto; and JCCH’s Gift Shop “Visionaries,” represented by longtime volunteers Ethel Hasegawa, Ethel Yamane and Barry Masuo. Each honoree was recognized with a highlight video and had an opportunity to share remarks with the audience.

In her opening remarks, JCCH board chair Christine Kubota said the cultural center “uses culture and education to achieve peace.”

Gov. David Ige said it was “amazing” to see how the cultural center has grown over the years. Consul General of Japan Yasushi Misawa spoke highly the resources available in the Tokioka Heritage Resource Center and said he often frequents the JCCH Gift Shop.

Proceeds from the gala benefit JCCH’s educational and cultural activities, which include festivals, school tours through JCCH’s historic gallery and historic preservation projects. This year marked the 30th anniversary of JCCH’s incorporation as a nonprofit organization in 1987.


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