The Japanese Community Association of Hawaii, based in Hilo, honored three “cultural treasures” at its biennial “Bunka no Hi,” or Japanese Culture Day program, on Nov. 18 at the Sangha Hall. The event was themed “Okage Sama De,” an often-used Japanese phrase of gratitude meaning “I am what I am because of you.”

Honored as cultural treasures were: Wailea Mochi Pounding Festival founder Akiko Masuda; judö sensei (teacher) Ronald Takeya, who has been practicing the martial art for over four decades; and 99-year-old Takayoshi Kanda, who is known in the community as the “Keeper of the Waiakea Tsunami Clock.”

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