Former members of the University of Hawai‘i’s Wakaba Kai gathered at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i on Oct. 22 to celebrate the sorority’s 68th anniversary. Wakaba Kai, which means “young leaves” in Japanese, was founded in 1949 by Lillian Yajima. Young female UH students who pledged to the sorority could be seen carrying a pink furoshiki (scarf-like wrapper) around the Mänoa campus. They also competed in song festivals and volunteered for community service projects.
Yajima, now 97 years old, organized the 68th anniversary reunion, which was attended by over 70 members. As part of the program, the members were invited to showcase their businesses and entrepreneurial talents in a mini trade show.
“Mrs. Yajima is a tireless volunteer and unofficial leader of Wakaba Kai,” said Wakaba Kai member Gina (Hasegawa) Nakahodo, who helped to organize the event. “I am always humbled and reminded that she is such a kind and gracious leader who continues to inspire me and many others in our community.”