The Hawaii Fukuoka Kenjin Kai welcomed the “Year of the Boar” at its annual general membership meeting and shinnenkai at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i on Feb. 10. Special guests included former Hawai‘i Gov. George Ariyoshi and his wife Jean, and Consul General of Japan Koichi Ito and his wife Misako.
President Keith Sakuda presided over his second membership meeting as the kenjinkai’s president.
The officers and committee chairs reported on their respective area of responsibility. It was announced that 17 new families had joined the club, bringing the total number of families to 206. The group also hosted members of the Fukuoka Prefectural Assembly, who come to Hawai‘i every year to attend the opening of the Hawai‘i state Legislature.
Fussy Nagai of the kenjinkai’s Member Outreach Committee announced that the committee will make a concerted effort to support club members “in happy times as well as in times of need” with a phone call or an email. She encouraged members to keep her and other committee members informed of an illness in the family, a hospitalization, a special birthday or an addition to the family. The committee members can also help arrange a ride to the kenjinkai’s June 23 picnic, if needed.
Gov. Ariyoshi, whose ancestral roots are in Fukuoka, served as the installing officer. He said he was happy to see so many young people in attendance at the shinnenkai. He said the officers are good people and will need the support of the members. The 2019 officers are: Keith Sakuda, president; vice presidents Myles Nomura, Kendrick Settsu and Satoko “Nikki” Thompson; treasurer Laura Jean Noda; assistant treasurers Brandon Hayashi and Myles Nomura; secretary Jeannie Fujii; assistant secretaries Jennifer Kumamoto and Shari Teruya; auditors Wallace Inouye, Seichi Nagai and Lenny Yajima; counsellors Bertrand Kobayashi and Fusayo “Fussy” Nagai; and advisors Koichi Isayama and Raymond Sekiya, along with 13 directors.
The four 11-year-old participants in last year’s Fukuoka Prefectural Government-sponsored “Short Stay” visit to Fukuoka and their chaperone, HFKK member Joyce Inouye, talked about their experience. The youngsters were still excited about their visit to the land where their roots as Japanese Americans began.
Information was also provided on the kenjinkai’s planned trip to Fukuoka in November for the Worldwide Fukuoka Kenjinkai Convention, followed by a tour of the prefecture and Japan.
One of the highlights of the program was the recognition of Hawaii Fukuoka Kenjin Kai’s octogenarians, 88-year-old Edith Tamanaha and 80-year-old Richard Wakida. Also honored were the club’s centenarians: 103-year-old Kusuo Tada, who did not attend the event; 103-year-old Haruko Nomura, whose son Myles represented her; and Yaeko Kobayashi, age 102, who was represented by her son Bertrand. Consul General of Japan Koichi Ito presented each honoree or their representative a certificate of congratulations and a gift from the Fukuoka Prefectural Government.
Tanner and Devin Teruya, the talented grandsons of Fussy and Seichi Nagai, shared their gift of song with the audience.
The day ended with a lively Hakata Iwaimedeta and Hakata Te-Ippon hand-clapping led by Atsuko Nonaka and Nikki Thompson.