The Hawaii United Okinawa Association will honor eight individuals for their contributions to the Okinawan and larger local and global community and to Okinawa at its Legacy Awards luncheon on Sunday, Oct. 14, in the Coral Ballroom of the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

The HUOA will honor the late Thomas Taro Higa; Dr. Satoru Izutsu, Ph.D.; former Gov. John Waihe‘e and former first lady Lynne (Kobashigawa) Waihe‘e; retired state Sen. Patsy (Miyahira) Young; and Hooge Ryu Hana Nuuzi no Kai Nakasone Dance Academy shihan Lisa Nakasone Nakandakari, Keith Oshiro and Julia Okamura.

  • Thomas Taro Higa served in the 100th Infantry Battalion in Europe during World War II and, later, as a soldier and linguist with the Military Intelligence Service during the Battle of Okinawa. Higa is credited with informing Hawai‘i Uchinanchu of Okinawa’s dire situation as a result of the war and of initiating the postwar relief efforts for Okinawa.
  • Dr. Satoru Izutsu, Ph.D., retired last year as vice dean of the University of Hawai‘i’s John A. Burns School of Medicine. From 1989 until his retirement, Dr. Izutsu headed the UH-Chubu Program, a partnership between the UH medical school and Chubu Hospital in Okinawa that has greatly improved the quality and practice of medicine in Okinawa. Chubu Hospital today ranks as one of the top medical facilities in all of Japan.
  • Former Gov. John Waihe‘e and former first lady Lynne (Kobashigawa) Waihe‘e have long supported Hawai‘i’s Okinawan community. Gov. Waihe‘e, who was Hawai‘i’s first and thus far only Native Hawaiian governor, visited Okinawa with his family shortly after being elected lieutenant governor. It was a family visit to meet his wife’s relatives there. Gov. Waihe‘e returned to Okinawa several times as governor. As first lady, Lynne Waihe‘e served as the honorary chair for the fundraising efforts to build the Hawaii Okinawa Center in the late 1980s.
  • Retired state Sen. Patsy (Miyahira) Young served in the Hawai‘i Legislature, in both House and Senate, from 1971 until 1988. She was initially appointed to fill her husband’s seat in the House of Representatives when he died in office. Young enjoyed the work and ran for re-election, serving in elective office for nearly 20 years. She has been a pioneer in many areas of government: first woman to hold a leadership role in the Senate, first woman of Asian ancestry appointed to the UH Board of Regents and the first female member of the state Public Utilities Commission.
  • Lisa (Nakasone) Nakandakari, Keith Oshiro and Julia Okamura all hold the title of shihan (master instructor) in Okinawan dance. Nakandakari and Okamura are the daughters of Hooge Ryu Hana Nuuzi no Kai Nakasone Dance Academy founder and artistic director Lynne Yoshiko Nakasone-Sensei and her husband Clarence Nakasone. They, along with Oshiro, have been lifelong students of Nakasone Sensei.

The foyer reception area to meet the honorees and to participate in the silent auction will open at 9 a.m., ballroom doors will open at 10 and the program will begin at 10:15. Individual seats are $125, Silver tables (10 seats per table) are $1,750; Gold tables are $3,000; Platinum tables are $5,000; and Diamond tables are $10,000. Reservations and payments can be made with either check or credit card. Call HUOA at (808) 676-5400 or send email to



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