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.”
The day of cultural activities began with an omikoshi (portable Shintö shrine) parade along Kïlauea Avenue to the Sangha Hall. Former Hawai‘i governor George Ariyoshi and his wife Jean were the parade’s grand marshals. The governor led a “talk story” session later in the day.
JCAH was established 45 years ago to promote and perpetuate Japanese culture and arts in East Hawai‘i and to foster international relationships with Japanese citizens and organizations.