The United Japanese Society of Hawaii honored 21 new octogenarians with a party at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i’s Manoa Grand Ballroom on Sept. 22. The new 80-year-olds were born in 1938. They were treated to a buffet lunch and a program of music and dance.
Chinagu Eisa opened the program with the energy-packed number, “Isshokenmei.” It was followed by Nanako Numazaki’s Japanese dance, “Oimatsu.”
UJSH president Faye Shigemura welcomed the honorees, their families and friends and special guests to the program. She said the new octogenarians have taken on many roles during the course of their lives. Shigemura noted that age 80 is an auspicious age that is represented by the color gold or brown.
Each year, UJSH asks the various O‘ahu kenjinkai, senior citizen clubs and community centers to identify its octogenarians and to submit their names so that UJSH can recognize them at the Nenchosha Festival.
Each honoree was introduced individually during the program, presented a certificate and had their picture taken with Shigemura, Consul General Koichi Ito and his wife Masako, Gov. David Ige and first lady Dawn Amano-Ige and Mayor Kirk Caldwell, all of whom offered their congratulations to the honorees.
In his remarks, Ige noted that in 1938, an average home cost $3,900, a gallon of gas was 10 cents and a new car cost $760. He urged the honorees to “take a moment to reflect on your good lives and accomplishments.” Caldwell said the honorees represent “the very best of us,” adding that they did not look 80 years old. Consul General Ito explained that “Keiro no Hi,” or “Respect for the Aged Day,” is a national holiday in Japan.
The 2018 honorees were: Grace Carmichael, Richard Fukuhara, Michiko Hachida, Betty Honbo, Ed Honbo, Dorine Ichikawa, Yoshiko Higa Kaneshiro, Edith Toshiko Kawakami Tan, Carol Koga, Robert Makiyama, Shirley Miyahira, Yaeko Miyahira, Rosalind Nakama, Caroline Nakamura, Dorothy Chihoko Nakamura, Sachiko Jane Nakamura, Kazuko Tarumi, Judith Tibayan, Janet Toyama, Richard Mitsuharu Wakida and Nancy Yeda.
Richard Fukuhara represented his fellow octogenarians in thanking the UJSH for honoring them. He also thanked Gov. Ige, Mayor Caldwell and Consul General Ito for attending the program.
UJSH member Wallace Watanabe led the audience in a rousing banzai to the honorees.
The entertainment program included Okinawan and Japanese dances by the Lanakila Okinawa Nenchosha Club, Kotobuki Kai, Tamagusuku Ryu Senjukai Frances Nakachi Ryubu Dojo, Iwakuni Odori Aiko Kai, and Chinagu Eisa Hawaii, and singing by Jenny Yoshimura, the Teruya brothers — Tanner and Devin, and Aolani Yukie Silva’s holehole bushi plantation work songs.
Chinagu Eisa Hawaii closed the program with a medley of eisa numbers and kachashi and UJSH president–elect, the Rev. Akihiro Okada, led the closing tejime.
The Nenchosha Ian Engei Taikai organizing committee was chaired by UJSH member Karen Kuba-Hori.