Hui Makaala’s 50th anniversary Scholarship Luncheon and Fashion Show attracted a sold-out audience of 700 people who filled the Coral Ballroom of the Hilton Hawaiian Village on July 21. In celebration of the milestone anniversary event, which was co-chaired by Karen Shishido and Jane Tamanaha Lee, Hui Makaala arranged for YOKANG designer Kanna Yamauchi from Okinawa to showcase her works. Yamauchi’s contemporary casual and formal outfits are fashioned from bingata, or traditional Okinawan resist-dyed fabric.
Sharing the fashion runway with Yamauchi was Sonny Ching, kumu hula (hula teacher) of the Merrie Monarch award-winning group Hälau Nä Mamo o Pu‘uanahulu. The multitalented Ching is a chanter, composer, recording and visual artist whose modern and artistic expressions of Hawaiian culture and heritage are expressed on fabric and accentuated with his fine silver jewelry designs, known as the Sonny Ching Collection by Paradisus.
Kanna was born in Naha City in Okinawa and was greatly influenced by her mother, Mitsuko Yamauchi, an Okinawan fashion pioneer in her own right. Mitsuko Yamauchi designed outfits using traditional Okinawan fabrics. Her designs are popular in Okinawa among Hawai‘i Ucihnanchu visitors to Okinawa.
Daughter Kanna’s fashions are targeted at a younger, more contemporary age group. She studied design in France for a year and learned dressmaking in Okinawa. Kanna’s designs have won awards in fashion design contests in Okinawa and Japan.
During the program, Hui Makaala awarded a total of $45,000 in scholarship funds to this year’s eight recipients. Each student received more than $3,000 to assist them in their higher education journey. The awards represented a combination of monies from Hui Makaala’s scholarship fund and a sizeable donation from the Herbert T. Oshiro Scholarship Foundation. The checks were presented to the students by Jodie Ching, representing the Herbert T. Oshiro Foundation.
The 2019 recipients were all recognized on the stage.
• David-John Fernandez, a Kamehameha Schools (Maui) graduate, plans to major in cybersecurity at Grand Canyon University in Arizona. David-John is a member of Maui Okinawa Kenjin Kai and teaches with Maui Okinawa Taiko. He is the son of Michael and Jayna Fernandez.
• Samantha Harada, who graduated from Punahou School, will attend Temple University’s Japan campus, where she plans to major in Japanese Studies and international business. Samantha served as treasurer of Punahou’s Japanese Okinawan Club. She was also a junior leader for the HUOA’s Children’s Day Camp and plays sanshin with Hawaii Okinawa Minyo Kyokai. Samantha is the daughter of Ali and Cathy Inoue-Harada.
• Megan Higa, a graduate of ‘Aiea High School, will attend Menlo College in California, where she plans to major in international business management. Megan is a member of Nakagusuku Sonjin Kai and Kuba Ryosei Kai and is a longtime dance student with Tamagusuku Ryu Senjukai Hawaii Frances Nakachi Ryubu Dojo. Her parents are Gary and Mayumi Higa.
• Brandon Ing is pursuing his master’s degree in teaching at Chaminade University. He is a member of Young Okinawans of Hawaii, Ukwanshin Kabudan and Kitanakagusuku Hawaii Sonjin Kai and plays sanshin with Nomura Ryu Ongaku Kyokai Hawaii Shibu. He also writes songs that introduce Okinawan words and phrases. Brandon is the son of Theodore and Liane Ing.
• Macy Luke, a graduate of Moanalua High School, will attend the University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa, majoring in travel industry management. She is a member of Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Hawaii. Macy’s parents are Ryan and Linda Luke.
• Ryan Nakasone, a Kalani High School graduate, will attend UH-Mänoa, pursuing a degree in animal sciences. He plays taiko with Chinagu Eisa Hawaii. Riley is the son of Jay and Phyllis Nakasone.
• Shelby Oshiro, who is currently a teacher, plans to enroll in the Master’s Curriculum Studies Teaching Leader and National Board Certification Track Program at UH-Mänoa. She is a member of Young Okinawans of Hawaii and Jikoen Hongwanji Mission. She also plays sanshin and sanba and sings with Urizun Minyo Group/Okinawa Minyo Kyokai Hawaii. Shelby is the daughter of Gene and Kathleen Oshiro.
• Chloe-Mae Talkington graduated from Wai‘anae High School and is an elementary education major at UH-Mänoa. She is a member of Okinawa City Goeku and plays taiko with Chinagu Eisa Hawaii. She also taught taiko as a junior leader with the HUOA’s Children’s Day Camp. Chloe-Mae’s parents are Thomas and Christine Talkington.
Hui Makaala awarded its first scholarship in 1946 to Edwin Goya and Dorothy Oyakawa. In the early history of the program, the Okinawan organization raised scholarship monies by holding dances. That continued until 1970, when Hui Makaala began organizing fundraising fashion shows. To date, Hui Makaala has awarded more than $500,000 in scholarships to support those Hawai‘i students who are actively involved in the Okinawan community pursue their higher education goals.
During the program, past scholarship recipient Dr. Ryokichi Higashionna presented a check for $5,000 to Hui Makaala. Higashionna received a Hui Makaala scholarship to the University of Hawai‘i in 1955. He said the scholarship enabled him to earn his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and to continue on to earn his master’s and Ph.D.
Besides presenting scholarship monies to the students, Hui Makaala also presented a check for $10,000 to the HUOA president Jocelyn “Jo” Ige for its Hawaii Okinawa Plaza project.
The event also featured raffles, a silent auction and Okinawan entertainment by Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Hawaii, Hawaii Okinawa Creative Arts, Hooge Ryu Hana Nuuzi no Kai, Dazzman Toguchi and Ryukyu Koten Afuso-Ryu Ongaku Kenkyuu Choichi Kai USA. Longtime karaoke teacher Marion Arakaki closed the program with her rendition of “Mihai Yu,” a song of thanksgiving sung in the dialect of the Yaeyama islands of Okinawa.