The Hanayagi Dancing Academy Hawai‘i Foundation celebrated their 75th Anniversary with an impressive stage performance of Nihon Buyō (classical Japanese dance) at the Mamiya Theater on June 26. Honoring the memory of the group’s founders, Hanayagi Mitsuaki I and Hanayagi Mitsuaki II, the program was assisted by professionals – costumer Ichikawa Masaei and dancer/kōken (stage assistant) Hanayagi Kusumitsu – who both traveled from Japan, bringing authentic costumes and props. A beautiful, glossy booklet highlighted the school’s history and explained the story behind each dance. Under the direction of principal Hanayagi Mitsujyūrō and vice-principal Hanayagi Mitsuakemi, the entire program was organized and well-executed.

The participating dancers had a wide range of experience – from less than one year to 70 years – and all enthusiastically shared experiences of this special performance.

Hanayagi Kusumitsu of Japan performs Ume no Haru. (Photo by Renee Carlyle)

Lisa Mukuyama has danced for less than one year. She had only previously practiced her dance wearing yukata (cotton kimono) so was surprised by the different experience of performing in full costume and makeup. She was also impressed by the importance of the event and hosting the honored Japan guests.

On the other end of the spectrum, Hanayagi Mitsutamae has been dancing for 70 years. She has a deep history as an original student of founder Hanayagi Mitsuaki I. She also considers Mitsuaki II, who dreamed of perpetuating Nihon Buyō for future generations but unfortunately passed away at the age of 58, as a dear sister. Mitsutamae is one of many non-performing natori (master performer) who helped backstage, showing their dedication and love of Nihon Buyō by donating many hours of their time to the school even though they weren’t performing.

A dancer of over eight years, Tiffani Muramoto, enjoyed her experience and felt the immense responsibility of putting on a good program to help represent Hanayagi Ryū (the head school in Japan) and the local Hawai‘i Hanayagi branch.

Sheryl Legaspi has danced off and on during her lifetime, from age five through high school, then a little bit in college, and again as an adult now that her own children have finished high school. Her mother danced with the Hanayagi school in the 1940s as a contemporary of senior member Hanayagi Itsue. Sheryl was impressed how the entire school came together and worked diligently with a common goal of putting together a quality performance. She also stressed the importance of the foundation in helping to continue the legacy of the original teachers.

Making her natori debut was Hanayagi Mitsusae, also known as Jasmine Umeno. She began studying Nihon Buyō at the age of nine on Maui then started studying under a Hanayagi sensei (teacher) while living in Beppu, Japan. When moving back home to Hawai‘i, her sensei contacted Mitsujyūrō-sensei so she was able to resume her studies in Hawai‘i. Her journey to natori status was an unusual one. After completing her studies, her original plan was to travel to Japan and take her natori shiken (exam) in April 2020. This exam was canceled due to COVID-19 but she was allowed to take her exam virtually, using an alternate format. She really appreciates how Mitsujyūrō-sensei challenges his dancers to continually improve.

One common feeling expressed by all the dancers was the appreciation of the efforts of their sensei to perpetuate Japanese culture through the art of Nihon Buyō. Chris Omuro and her dance partner Melissa Morinishi, both four-year dance and shamisen students, admire their teachers’ perseverance to make this performance a reality. 

The instructors Mitsujyūrō and Mitsuakemi were grateful that Hanayagi Kusumitsu sensei and costumer Ichikawa-san were able to be a part of this event and share their expertise.

Mitsuakemi-sensei also reflected on the hard work of her predecessors. “There were many kimonos and props used during this concert that were used by previous Hawai‘i Hanayagi-ryū senseis and students, and I could feel the connection and spirit come alive on stage with us.”

Rayson Kalamakuōkalani Namba (top) and principal instructor Hanayagi Mitsujyūrō perform Hashi Benkei. (Photo by Renee Carlyle)

This event has been in the works for years, said Mitsuakemi, and the students diligently practiced their dances – even during the pandemic – both virtually and in person. The foundation, whose mission is to promote and perpetuate Nihon buyō and nagauta shamisen (Japanese stringed instrument) in Hawai‘i, was an important asset, with families working side by side to plan the event under Mitsujyūrō-sensei’s guidance.

“I am thankful for the huge support of our HDAHF families … and for those who attended our event,” said Mitsuakemi. “With everyone’s support we will continue to share this art of Hanayagi-ryū Nihon buyō in Hawai‘i. Korekaramo yoroshiku onegaishimasu!

For more information about HDAHF, visit hdahf.org, email hanayagihawaii@gmail.com or P.O. Box 12177 Honolulu, Hawaii 96828. 


On June 23 late Hawai‘i Rep. Patsy Mink was honored both nationally and locally on the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Spearheaded by Mink, the landmark legislation passed in 1972, transforming schools and universities across the nation, by prohibiting educational institutions from receiving federal funds if they discriminated on the basis of sex in admissions, recruitment, financial aid, housing, or athletics. 

At the U.S. Capitol, the House of Representatives honored late Congresswoman Mink’s legacy with the unveiling of her official portrait. 

“It is my honor to welcome all of you to celebrate Patsy Takemoto Mink, a trailblazing elected official, a legendary champion of equality and our beloved colleague and friend,” said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. “Indeed, the portrait we will unveil today is a beautiful tribute to an all-American hero.”

(Left to Right): Karen Foissotte (Zonta Club of Leilehua), Representative Linda Ichiyama, Jennifer Rose (Director of the Office of Institutional Equity at the University of Hawaii), Jan Gouveia (Vice President for Administration at University of Hawaii), Associate Justice Sabrina McKenna (Hawaii Supreme Court), Governor David Ige, First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige, Senator Rosalyn H. Baker, Holly Young (Sculptor of Patsy T. Mink statue), Senator Michelle N. Kidani, Representative Sylvia Luke, Senator Sharon Y. Moriwaki, Representative Amy A. Perruso, Representative Jeanne Kapela, Shan Wirt (Hawaii Women Lawyers), and Tamah-Lani Noh, Zonta Club of Leilehua. (Photo courtesy State Rep. Linda Ichiyama)

Mink’s daughter, Dr. Gwendolyn Mink, pulled the rope behind a thick burgundy curtain, revealing an oil on aluminum portrait of a young Congresswoman Mink smiling, holding a stack of papers in one hand and a black bag in the other. Mink is centered in front of a turquoise abstract leaf portrait backdrop, representing the colors of the Pacific Ocean, with flora from Hawai‘i such as heliconia and bird-of-paradise, interwoven. Her portrait, painted by Sharon Sprung, joins nine other portraits commissioned by the House of Representatives and will soon be displayed in the Capitol alongside portraits of other trailblazing women, including Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman to serve in Congress, and Florence Kahn, the first Jewish woman to serve in Congress. 

Joining Mink and Pelosi in the unveiling were tennis icon Billie Jean King; U.S. Rep. and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chair Judy Chu; Education and Labor Chair Bobby Schott; House Administration Chair Zoe Lofgen; and Hawai‘i officials Sen. Brian Schatz; Rep. Ed Case; Rep. Kai Kahele; and Sen. Mazie Hirono. 

“Patsy was a champion for social justice, equality and civil rights, and a trailblazer in every sense of that word,” said Senator Hirono. “Title IX represented a sea change for women in our country. Fifty years later Title IX is just as important today as it was when Patsy fought for it. By working to build on the progress Congresswoman Patsy Mink worked so hard to secure, we are helping generations of women and girls to come to have the support they need to thrive in school and beyond.”

Mink, a Sansei Japanese American, was born in 1927 in Pā‘ia and graduated from Maui High School as the class valedictorian. She went on to graduate from the University of Hawai‘i in 1948 with degrees in zoology and chemistry. Mink applied to medical school, only to be denied admission due to her gender. Instead, she applied and was accepted to the University of Chicago Law School, where she met her husband John Mink. Congresswoman Mink and her husband returned to Hawai‘i, where she struggled to find a job, again, due to her gender. Instead, Mink started her own practice, becoming the first Japanese American woman to practice law in Hawai‘i. Shortly after Hawai‘i became a state, Mink won a seat in the U.S. House and became the first woman of color and Asian American woman to serve in Congress. During her extensive career, Mink was an advocate for immigrants, minorities, women and children and is known for her efforts in fighting for Title IX. After she passed in 2002, the bill was renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act in her honor. 

Locally, The Hawai‘i Women’s Legislative Caucus, Hawai‘i Women Lawyers, Zonta Club of Leilehua and the University of Hawai‘i co-hosted a lei ceremony at the Patsy T. Mink statue in front of the Hawai‘i State Library in downtown Honolulu. Mink’s bronze statue was adorned with colorful lei and flanked by the American flag and the flag of Hawai‘i. 

“In our ceremony today, we had all three branches of government represented as well as the community,” said emcee Tamah-Lani Noh, former president and member of the Zonta Club of Leilehua. “We are all here because we recognize the impact of Congresswoman Mink’s work for women and girls across the country.

“As a former teacher and school administrator, I saw firsthand the positive impact of Title IX on our young women,” said First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige, representing the executive branch. “We must renew our commitment to uphold its protections and ensure equal access for all in our education system.”

“As a direct beneficiary of Title IX programs at the University of Hawai‘i, I would not have had the same opportunities without this important legislation,” said Associate Justice Sabrina S. McKenna of the Hawai‘i Supreme Court, who played on the University of Hawai‘i’s first women’s basketball team. “We need to remind this next generation that women’s rights were not always protected, and we cannot take them for granted.”

“Congresswoman Mink was a trailblazer for women nationally, not just Hawai‘i,” said State Senator Rosalyn H. Baker, representing the legislative branch. “She was also a tireless advocate for gender equity in education and access to quality childcare for all families. Our Hawai‘i Women’s Legislative Caucus has worked to keep her legacy alive by enacting our own state version of Title IX in Hawai‘i, to ensure that all students have equal access to their education.”

After each speaker presented, they draped a lei on Mink’s statue’s outstretched arm, each garland representing a significance to Mink or Title IX. The maile lei presented by the Zonta Club of Leilehua represented love, blessing, reverence, friendship and the desire for peace. First Lady Amano-Ige draped a lei made of kukui nuts, which is often used to make candles. The lei honored how the late Congresswoman shined light on women’s issues in the state and throughout the nation. Hawai‘i Women Lawyers presented a lei made of tuberose and lokelani, the official flower of Maui, to represent Mink’s roots. Justice McKenna displayed a three-strand orange lei, a color designated to symbolize to end violence against women and Mink’s fierce advocacy for women’s issues. The University of Hawai‘i added a fragrant plumeria lei to represent keiki and education. The Hawai‘i Women’s Legislative Caucus adorned Mink’s statue with a vibrant red double carnation lei, which was an iconic lei for legislatures to wear in the 1960s and a lei Mink was often photographed wearing. 

Rep. Mazie Hirono and Rep. Pelosi at Rep. Mink’s portrait unveiling. (Photo courtesy office of Senator Mazie K. Hirono)

Jennifer Rose, director of the University of Hawai‘i’s Office of Institutional Equity discussed how Mink’s daughter often spoke about how her mother said to use Title IX’s anniversaries to remember and document the struggles it took to get the bill passed.

“My mother held the view that justice requires eternal vigilance. We can’t rest on our laurels. We must never greet accomplishment with complacency,” said Dr. Gwendolyn Mink at the portrait unveiling. “She implored us to greet Title IX anniversaries as a time for rededication not for commemoration. I think she would hope that her portrait would help inspire that rededication as a reminder to vigilance, a call to activism and an inspiration to keep doing the work of U.S. democracy.” 


On June 11, ten scholarships of $1,000 were presented to 2022 Maui high school graduates by Maui’s Sons and Daughters of the Nisei Veterans/Maui AJA Veterans scholarship program. The ceremony took place at the new Stanley Izumigawa Resource Center of the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center in Kahului. 

The Maui AJA Veterans scholarship program was established in 1951 and is awarded annually, based on academic achievement, extracurricular activities, an essay as well as financial need. The major source of scholarship funding comes from the annual Chrysanthemum Festival, previously known as the Chrysanthemum Ball, where funds are raised by contestants vying to be queen of the event. 

Recipients of Maui’s Sons and Daughters of the Nisei Veterans / Maui AJA Veterans scholarships who were able to attend the award program and lunch were (from left) Jessica Mae Castillo, Jansen Chase Aceret, Altene Jacob Tumacder, Kaylee Volner, Kawaimalie Apolo and Angelina Lai. (Photo courtesy of Maui’s Sons and Daughters of Nisei Veterans)

Maui AJA Veterans ran the event from 1953, before turning the event over to Maui’s Sons and Daughters of the Nisei Veterans in 2007. When Maui AJA Veterans Inc. dissolved in 2016, it distributed funds to the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center and to Maui’s Sons and Daughters of Nisei Veterans, who pledged to continue the tradition of providing scholarships to Maui high school graduates. The program honors Maui AJA Veterans Inc. by retaining its name in the scholarship title. 

This year’s recipients are:

  • Jansen Chase Aceret, Maui High School, son of Lito and Lilia Aceret.
  • Kawaimalie Apolo, Kamehameha Schools-Maui Campus, daughter of Joe and Waynette Apolo
  • Jessica Mae D. Castillo, Maui High School, daughter of Ken and Mia Castillo.
  • Samantha Joyce Della, Maui High School, daughter of Tyron Della and Adelaine Buendia-Della.
  • Angelina Lai, Lahainaluna High School, daughter of Son Lai and Thuy Nguyen.
  • Grace Kathleen Martin, Maui Preparatory Academy, daughter of Amy Wisthoff-Martin and Daniel Martin.
  • Leanne Osorno, Maui High School, daughter of Vanessa Marquez.
  • Marie Eugene Pineda, Lahainaluna High School, daughter of Rita Pineda.
  • Altene Jacob Tumacder, Maui High School, son of Rizal Tumacder Jr. and Christina Tumacder
  • Kaylee Volner, Seabury Hall, daughter of Rick and Erin Volner.


On June 29, Jacky Takakura was sworn into office as deputy director of the Department of Planning, succeeding Jordan Hart, who moved to chief of the department’s Zoning Administration and Enforcement Division. 

Jacky Takakura signs official documents after taking the oath of office as deputy director of the Maui County Department of Planning. (Photo courtesy of Office of Mayor Michael Victorino)

“Jacky Takakura brings a wealth of experience to help lead the Department of Planning,” said Mayor Michael Victorino. “She has long been a strong member of our administration’s team.”

Takakura grew up in Kahului and graduated from Baldwin High School and earned bachelor’s degrees in both business administration and Japanese language and literature at the University of Washington. In December 2021, Takekura received a professional certificate in urban and regional planning from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. 

Prior to working for Maui County, Takakura worked for Ernst & Young Telecommunications Consulting and taught English in Japan. In 1998, she started her career at the Department of Water Supply before transferring to the Department of Planning from 2014 to 2017. Takakura returned to the Department of Water Supply for a year, then in 2019, rejoined the Planning Department as Administrative Planning Officer in the Zoning Administration and Enforcement Division.

“I am honored and humbled to be part of Mayor Victorino’s team,” said Takakura, “and I hope to help out in whatever way I can.”


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