Izumo Taishakyo Mission of Hawai‘i members, supporters and invited guests gathered at the Shintö shrine in Chinatown on Oct. 7 for the 112th annual Omatsuri Festival.
The omatsuri service began with a procession of the priests. Representatives of the various community organizations and guests were invited to offer tamagushi (sacred branches) to the gods to express gratitude for the past year’s blessings and to pray for continued blessings upon their families, businesses, organizations and the country. The gods withheld the heavy rains until after the service had concluded.
The celebration continued on the lawn beside the shrine under big white tents. After welcome messages from president Fred Miura and head priest Bishop Daiya Amano, Rod Haraga, the shrine’s treasurer, presented the first Izumo Taishakyo Mission of Hawaii cash scholarships to Katelyn Nakasone and Migiwa Kawachi. Each student received $2,000. Nakasone is studying nuclear medicine at the University of Las Vegas while Kawachi is pursuing her doctorate in botany at the University of Hawai‘i.
The afternoon rain did not stop the guests from enjoying the post service festivities. Somei Taiko, Bando Mitsumasa Sobi Kai, Hanayagi Dancing Academy, Japanese and Okinawan dancer Dazzman Toguchi and students from the John Sakai Music Studio provided entertainment. Guests also enjoyed a home-cooked dinner prepared by the Izumo Taisha Fujinkai (women’s organization) members and kyodan (general membership) and had a chance to win lucky number prizes.