Jodie Chiemi Ching

It’s been a bittersweet couple of weeks at the Hawaii Hochi offices; packing boxes and clearing the walls once covered with thank you notes from subscribers, Christmas cards from sponsors and calendars filled with deadlines. 

The company’s operations have been at 917 Kokea Street in Kalihi since 1947. Kenzo Tange (1913-2005) — a Japanese architect who was the winner of the Pritzker Prize for architecture in 1987 — designed a building for the Hawaii Hochi which was built in 1972 and is his only completed building in the U.S.

The Hawaii Hochi at 917 Kokea Street holds a lot of history and fond memories of the Hawaii Hochi and The Hawai‘i Herald ‘ohana.

Despite the building’s historical significance and unique design admired by passersby on the outside, it longed for some TLC on the inside. When it rained, we had buckets around the office to catch the rainwater and the carpet was old with holes in it. Some of my visitors had nicknames for the building like “castle ruins” and “Russian prison.”

The Hawai‘i Herald was founded in 1980. As its birthplace, the building on Kokea Street will always hold a special place in the hearts of those who wrote the stories that chronicled the history of Hawai‘i’s Japanese American community. And as the last editor at Kokea Street and the first editor at Waiwai Loop, it only highlights even more, the start of a new era. I am excited about the new stories I will read and write at my shiny new desk in my clean cubicle. I don’t have a private office anymore, which is nice, because now I feel like I’m in the middle of all the buzz as I hear the staff of our sister Japanese-language paper, the Hawaii Hochi, busily typing and chatting about today’s issue. 

A shiny new home for the Hawaii Hochi and The Hawai‘i Herald.

Besides getting this issue out, we’ve been trying to research good places to eat in the area. We are close to Mäpunapuna now, so there’s Henry Loui’s, Masa’s Cafeteria and Moanalua 99 (formerly known as 99 Ranch). According to Yelp, there’s Kau Kau Grill, Mitch’s Sushi, Jolene’s and Taka’s Box Lunch. Let us know if you have any recommendations near Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.  

While it was a little hectic to move and put together our next issue, I was excited to share all its stories: Ernie Lau’s vocal urge for us to protect Hawai‘i water by Kristen Nemoto Jay, Hawai‘i’s AJA veterans who are being considered for Medal of Honor upgrades by Gregg Kakesako, some K-Pop fun by BTS fangirl Kacie Yamamoto and a trip to Japan with Stacy Lee and get to know novelist Natsume Söseki. The Herald also welcomes a new column title “Dispatches From Japan” from Kalani Fujiwara, a Hawai‘i transplant living in Kanagawa, Japan. Mahalo to Fujiwara for bringing a little bit of Japan to us while we are going through withdrawals because of the COVID-19 and Omicron pandemic travel restrictions.


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