The Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce welcomed the “Year of the Dog” at its 73rd annual shinnenkai (New Year’s party) on Jan. 5. The event at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i was attended by a sold-out audience of 300, including HJCC members, their families and friends. The highlight of the event was the “Shoko Shiranami Gonin Otoko” play, featuring the newest “class” of kabuki “stars.”

HJCC board chair Brian Nishida welcomed the guests at the entrance to the Manoa Grand Ballroom. In his welcome remarks during the program, Nishida said New Year’s is a time to pause, reflect and refresh.” He said this year is extra special because of the various events being planned to commemorate 150 years since the Gannenmono, the first group of Japanese immigrants, arrived in Hawai‘i in 1868. Nishida thanked Consul General of Japan Koichi Ito for supporting the celebration.

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