United Japanese Society of Hawaii Holds Online General Membership Meeting

Jodie Chiemi Ching

The United Japanese Society of Hawaii’s annual general membership meeting was called to order by Rev. Akihiro Okada, president of UJSH, on the evening of May 14. Due to the current stay-at-home order from Gov. David Ige, board members, directors and advisors logged on to the online Zoom meeting from their respective homes.

Highlighted was an endeavor to publish a commemorative book entitled “Renkyo no Ayumi” — translated as “Journey of the United Japanese Society.”

UJSH President-elect Frances Nakachi Kuba said in a letter to supporters, “The book will feature our members, capture favorite memories of annual legacy events and programs and provide historical information about [UJSH].”

The book project is an opportunity to “celebrate [UJSH’s] many accomplishments and preserve the long-standing history of the organization,” said Kuba. And since fundraising events are cancelled or up in the air, it is also an opportunity to provide the club with financial support.

The UJSH 2020-2021 installation and recognition banquet is still scheduled for Sept. 26 at Manoa Grand Ballroom, Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i; however, this year’s Obon Hoyo (an annual obon service held at Makiki Cemetery) and the Nenchosha Ian Engei Taikai (Senior Citizens Festival held in conjunction with Japan’s observance of “Respect for the Aged Day”) are also cancelled. However, UJSH plans to honor Nikkei seniors (who celebrate their 80th birthdays in 2020 and 2021) at next year’s Nenchosha (elders) celebration.

At the general membership meeting, a new slate of officers, the Society’s director, counselors and advisors were voted in for the 2020-2021 term. The officers included: Frances Nakachi Kuba, president; Wendy Abe, president-elect; Carole Hayashino, Heather Omori, Hironori Yamamoto, Kanzo Nara and Wallace Watanabe as vice presidents; Annette Matsumoto, Fay Shigemura and Janice Matsuura as secretaries; Courtney Takara, David Jones and Norman Nakasone as treasurers; and Christopher Kaneshiro, James Sato and Robert Nagao as auditors. The new slate will be sworn in at the installation banquet in September.

The meeting attendees mixed business matters with humor. Only in a Zoom meeting would there be comments like “How did you get that virtual background?” or “Rev. Okada, you sound like Darth Vader” (because of his overheated microphone), and would treasurer David Jones be able to show off his tech skills by cloning himself onscreen.

The meeting ended late in the evening with exciting adventures on the horizon, starting with the installation banquet in September and the publication of “Renkyo no Ayumi.”

UJSH welcomes community individuals and organizations to support “Renkyo no Ayumi” by purchasing advertisements. A congratulatory, historical or commercial message in support for UJSH is suggested. The sale of the book is tentatively set for September. For more information email ujsoh1@gmail.com, or call 941-5889.


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