After two years of meetings and negotiations, the Honolulu Hiroshima Kenjin Kai formalized a sister kenjinkai relationship with the Tökyö Hiroshima-Ken People’s Association at a signing ceremony at the THKPA’s shinnen enkai (New Year’s banquet) at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel in Tökyö on Jan. 20.
Founded in 1947, the Tökyö Hiroshima-Ken People’s Association is believed to be the largest Hiroshima-focused organization outside of Hiroshima Prefecture with more than 1,300 business members.
Participating in the signing ceremony were THKPA president Yoshiki Paul Otake and HHKK president Wayne Miyao. Hiroshima Prefectural governor Hidehiko Yuzaki traveled to Tökyö to participate in the celebration.
Joining Miyao at the shinnen enkai were Honolulu Hiroshima Kenjin Kai members Kevin Nakata, Cheryl Sora, Brandon Saigusa and Susan Miyao. More than 1,000 guests, including Diet member Fumio Kishida, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, 10 mayors of cities and towns in Hiroshima and newly hired Hiroshima Carp baseball team manager Shinji Sasaoka, attended the gala celebration.
Maui-born sumo legend Jesse “Takamiyama” Kuhaulua, who lives in Tökyö, was invited as a special guest. He attended the gala with his manager, former sumo wrestler “Takaminobori.” Although he retired from the sport of sumo in 1984, Jesse is still very popular in Japan. He attracted many guests who wanted to meet him, take photos with him and get his autograph.
The banquet also featured a Hiroshima food and product exhibition. On display were a 2020 Mazda car (Mazda is home-based in Hiroshima), numerous sake from Hiroshima, okonomiyaki made by Otafuku Sauce chefs, and musical performances of koto and violin.
In his speech, Miyao emphasized that “the primary goal of this sister kenjinkai relationship is to help the Tökyö Hiroshima-Ken People’s Association to promote Hiroshima Prefecture; its rich history, vibrant culture and arts; and thriving business climate, along with honoring our unique Hiroshima customs and lifestyles. We look forward to a rewarding and lasting relationship with the Tökyö Hiroshima–Ken People’s Association.”