As we move into the new year, we are introducing and reintroducing our freelancers, new and seasoned, whose contributions continue to make The Hawai’i Herald a special community newspaper. 

Karleen Chinen

The Hawai‘i Herald was my life for 16 years prior to retiring as editor in April 2020 and during an earlier 13-year tenure as a writer and then editor in the 1980s and 1990s.

I was drawn to the paper after having read stories from the first English-language iteration while a journalism student at the University of Hawai‘i taking some ethnic studies courses. Those stories were told from the perspective of history’s unsung heroes — people who had lived the history, but whose lives and experiences were absent in history books and newspapers.

As editor, I tried to continue that philosophy of journalism. Throughout its history, the Herald has remained true to chronicling the life of Hawai‘i’s Japanese American community through its feature stories and community coverage. It will be the Herald’s legacy long into the future. – Karleen Chinen, freelance writer for The Hawai‘i Herald.

George Furukawa

I’m a freelance writer based in Pearl City. I’ve been a professional journalist for more than 40 years and have worked in various editorial positions for daily, weekly and monthly publications. My articles have appeared in local as well as national publications including the Honolulu Star-Bulletin (now the Star-Advertiser), Building Industry Digest, Engineering News Record, Porthole, Nature Conservancy, Amateur Chef, Credit Union Times, Fresh Cut and Corporate & Incentive Travel.

 The Hawai‘i Herald is a special newspaper because it covers “the story behind the story” and offers fresh insights on a range of topics of interest to many people of all ages. Also, The Hawai‘i Herald showcases the rich, precious heritage of the people of Hawai‘i, and in particular, people of Japanese ancestry. It chronicles many morsels of valuable information not found in other publications, and appeals to the heart and soul of communities, with news as well as heartwarming human-interest stories — often expressed through the lens of pride and perseverance — not no can do, but no, can do! – George Furukawa, freelance writer for The Hawai‘i Herald.

Gregg Kakesako

Former Washington Post President and Publisher Philip L. Graham has been credited as describing journalism as “the first rough draft of history” – raw beginning where truth begins. Well, for nearly half a century, with a year off in the beginning to work as a congressional aide, that’s what I have been doing. Within the last seven years, at the urging of then Hawai‘i Herald Editor Karleen Chinen, I stepped back and took a longer look at issues dealing with rich history and traditions of Hawai’i‘s Japanese community. She views the Herald “as the chronicler of the AJA community for future generations and for researchers.” She added: “the Herald existed to keep Hawai‘i (and mainland) community — not just the AJA community — informed of what was going on in Hawai‘i’s Japanese American community.” So, I stand with good company. – Gregg K. Kakesako, freelance writer for The Hawai‘i Herald.

Photo of Frances Kakugawa

Frances Kakugawa

Frances Kakugawa, awarding winning, internationally published poet/author of 17 books, wrote her “Dear Frances” advice column for caregivers from 2014 -2020. Frances continues her work nationally and locally on humanizing and dignifying the care of our elders. Frances was born and raised in Kapoho on the Big Island. She resides in Sacramento, CA, where she facilitates a poetry-writing support group for caregivers and gives lectures/workshops on poetry, writing and literature for all ages. “Hawai‘i Herald,” she said, “helped to have my voice heard in Hawai‘i’s communities and for that, I’m very grateful.” Visit her blog for most current events and thoughts at Or her website for latest publications and contact information: – Frances Kakugawa, former writer of the column “Dear Frances” and freelance writer for The Hawai‘i Herald.

Kevin Kawamoto

I have been writing freelance articles for The Hawai‘i Herald for more than three decades, beginning with my first article about Japanese funeral practices published on Feb. 2, 1990, when I was still a college student. Since then, I have continued to enjoy learning about such a wide variety of topics and sharing these stories with Herald readers. What makes the Herald a special paper is the tireless and passionate efforts that this paper’s editors and writers have made over the years to keep Japanese American community members connected with their culture and heritage. Many of the stories printed on the Herald’s pages would never have seen the light of day without this kind of focused commitment. We must also recognize the publishers, advertising and production staff, advertisers and everyone else who have kept this publication alive through both good times and bad over many decades. Thank you, most of all, to all of our awesome Herald readers. Wishing everyone a new year filled with good health, happiness, and much success! – Kevin Kawamoto, freelance writer for The Hawai‘i Herald.

Jackie Kojima

Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu! Happy New Year! My name is Jackie Kojima. I am an eighth-grade Japanese teacher at ‘Iolani School and a freelance writer. As a Gosei, I developed a passion for studying Japanese in my middle school years. In my free time, I enjoy singing, listening to true crime podcasts and spending time with my sister. My favorite part about writing is the process of interviewing someone and learning their story. Through writing for The Hawai‘i Herald, I’ve had the opportunity to meet amazing people – from individuals leading local volunteer organizations, to a multi-generational family of bakers. I’m honored to write for a publication that aims to elevate the work of these passionate individuals, and to memorialize their stories for generations to come. I’m looking forward to making new connections and bringing exciting stories to Hawai‘i Herald readers in 2023. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu! – Jackie Kojima, freelance writer for The Hawai‘i Herald.

Sascha Koki

Sascha Koki is excited to join the ranks of columnists for The Hawai‘i Herald. As a Japanese and Black hapa bilingual woman who grew up in Hawai‘i and Japan, Sascha has a unique perspective on growing up with three rich cultures; she sees herself as a bridge that connects these worlds through her career and in life. Sascha is the vice president of Media Etc., a PR & Marketing company based in Honolulu.

Happily married and a mother of two humans and one pup, she strives to raise her pack of wild cubs into compassionate beings that wield their powers for good while enjoying all that life has to offer. Passionate about fashion, beauty, wellness and good (okay, and bad) TV in near equal measures, this former Miss Waikiki and UH Rainbow Dancer is a true Aquarius.

 In her column, she plans to write about ~lifestyle~ which really means anything and everything, all at once. Her wish is to inspire and shed light on everything from cultural issues to hilarious culture shock moments through personal stories. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu! – Sascha Koki, columnist for The Hawai‘i Herald.

Stacy Lee

I’m a writing tutor and an Asian history teacher at Punahou Summer School. I’m a lifelong Japanophile and devotee of author Natsume Söseki. My years of living, studying and working in Japan have taken me from urban Tökyö to a traditional onsen inn in Yamashiro Onsen and made me an avowed fan of all types of Japanese cuisine.

In 1994, editor at the time, Karleen Chinen, afforded me the privilege of writing an article that involved traveling to Japan with a group of veterans from both the 522 Field Artillery Battalion and the Military Intelligence Service as well as Holocaust survivors to honor Japanese diplomat, Chiune Sugihara who saved thousands of lives by issuing transit visas to Jewish refugees in Lithuania in 1940. Not only did I learn about the incredible exploits and sacrifices of these brave and admirable individuals, I had the opportunity to meet and write about the heart of people like MIS veteran Harry Fukuhara, and his brother Frank Fukuhara, as well as Holocaust survivors. Presenting stories about events and people who capture the human spirit is what makes The Hawai‘i Herald special. – Stacy Lee, freelance writer for The Hawai‘i Herald.

Michael Malaghan

I worked forty years in the direct to the consumer business ending with an 11-year stint as president of a Disney Licensee covering Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong. In my heart, I was always a writer. In 2007, while looking for a good subject, I attended the launch of Tom Coffman’s “The First Battle” documentary that revealed why most Japanese in Hawai‘i were not sent to the internment camps. What a story! Through the eyes of Haru, my picture bride, we live though three decades of immigrant life in Hawai‘i, including more details on the good men who in the 1930s prepared for the avoidance of mass incarceration. – Mike Malaghan, author of “A Question of Loyalty” and contributor to The Hawai‘i Herald.

Brandon Miyagi

Born and raised here in Hawai‘i, Brandon Miyagi has been practicing photography on the island of O‘ahu for the past 10 years. Specializing in portraits and people photography, he enjoys the opportunity to work with so many different people through his photos.

Brandon especially enjoys working with the team at The Hawai‘i Herald because of their dedication to local people and local stories. The Herald’s devotion to continual evolvement while maintaining its commitment to the traditions of Hawai‘i make it a truly wonderful team to be a part of. – Brandon Miyagi, freelance photographer for The Hawai’i Herald. 

Camaron Miyamoto

Camaron Miyamoto is the director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Queer+ (LGBTQ+) Center and tenured faculty in the Division of Student Success at the University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa. Yonsei, Mexican and Filipino American, Mr. Miyamoto has served on the boards of the Hawai‘i LGBT Legacy Foundation and the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), Honolulu Chapter, where he advocated for marriage equality in Hawai‘i. Mr. Miyamoto continues to learn from his students at UH Mänoa and is fueled by the belief that by being grounded in our culture and community we will create a better future through compassion, education, and a steadfast commitment to social justice. The Hawai‘i Herald is a cornerstone of that future. – Camaron Miyamoto, columnist for The Hawai‘i Herald.

Carolyn Morinishi and Marian Kurosaki Kubota

My name is Carolyn, a freelance children’s culture writer for The Hawai‘i Herald. I have always had an interest in Japanese culture and studied Nihon-buyö, or classical Japanese dance. I received my teaching credential from Azuma Ryu and have been teaching dance for more than 23 years. My mom and co-author, Marian, had a long career as an elementary teacher and administrator and taught many workshops in multicultural education. She has a degree in ikebana from Misho Ryu and she’s an experienced kimono seamstress. My mom and I have been writing the Culture4Kids column for 18 years. We have also written two children’s books about Japanese culture. We feel the Herald is special because it keeps the Japanese community strong and it helps to preserve and promote Japanese culture for future generations. – Carolyn Kubota Morinishi and Marian Kurasaki Kubota, freelance children’s culture writers for The Hawai‘i Herald.

Trisha Nakamura

Trisha Nakamura is the Interim Dean of Student Services at the University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa William S. Richardson School of Law, where she has served as director of Career Services. She is a volunteer board member of the Japanese American Citizens League – Honolulu Chapter, an organization advocating for civil and human rights. Prior to her work at the law school, she worked as a deputy public defender, defending the rights of those accused. As a Yonsei local Okinawan woman who was born and raised in Hawai‘i, she is committed to equity and social justice. Her respect for this place and people, and her appreciation of diversity, inform her desire to contribute to our community. – Trisha Nakamura, columnist for The Hawai’i Herald.

Dan Nakasone

Publications dedicated to the Japanese American experience are rare in today’s media landscape. The Herald serves a vital role in documenting and sharing our stories that may otherwise go untold. And when those stories are lost, we are denying current and future generations the ability to learn from them. – Dan Nakasone, freelance writer for The Hawai‘i Herald.

Renelaine Pfister

I grew up in the Philippines and moved to Hawai‘i in 2014. I’m a physical therapist and writer based on O‘ahu.

The Hawai‘i Herald is a special newspaper because even though it’s a Japanese American Journal, it embraces all the cultures of Hawai‘i. The features are inspiring and there is something for everybody including comics and crafts for the keiki and even stories for fiction lovers. – Renelaine Pfister, freelance writer for The Hawai‘i Herald.

Colin Sewake

I’m Colin Sewake, originally from Wahiawä but living permanently in Okinawa, Japan. I’m one of The Hawai‘i Herald’s freelance writers bringing you stories from here. Articles from many writers with a diverse background from many locations make The Hawai‘i Herald a great source of information for news from the Japanese American community in Hawai‘i and elsewhere. Subscribe and be on the lookout for stories that I’ll be sharing from Japan’s 47th prefecture. Mälama pono and a hui hou! – Colin Sewake, freelance writer for The Hawai‘i Herald.

Ryan Tatsumoto

I’m a Windward O‘ahu resident and retired clinical pharmacist. However, my wife and I still enjoy seeking out perfect marriages of food and wine. I’m a certified sommelier, a certified specialist of wine and have a Level 1 sake certification from WSET. I also write a column for San Francisco’s Nichi Bei Weekly called “The Gochiso Gourmet.”

I pen the column “Ryan’s Table” highlighting the joys of food and wine whether it’s a new restaurant or simply a meal prepared at home … and what to drink with that meal.

What The Hawai‘i Herald means to me is a true connection to community. In this age of social media and smartphones, it seems that we are connected more than ever but those types of connections are fleeting at best. The connection that The Hawai‘i Herald provides goes deeper whether it’s art and culture, history and politics or simply an NGN viewing guide, I believe The Hawai‘i Herald keeps us connected for what really matters! – Ryan Tatsumoto, columnist for The Hawai‘i Herald.

Alysa Tomasa

My name is Alysa Tomasa and along with my name, I have been called many other things. I was a “student” for many years, earning my bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon and then a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Phoenix to become a licensed “teacher,” teaching and working for the Windward District DOE as a high school English Language Arts and AVID teacher. I then became a “program director” of TRIO Upward Bound at Windward Community College. I am a lifelong “Windward resident” aside from my years in Oregon for college and my one-year abroad teaching English conversation in Japan for AEON. I am also a “wife,” “mother,” “shiba owner,” “friend,” “planner,” “traveler,” and most recently — “writer!”

What I love about writing for and reading The Hawai‘i Herald is that I feel The Hawai‘i Herald takes great care in building a bridge between tradition and progression, the past and the future. I can truly appreciate the integration of Japanese culture into local culture as well as the intersection of other cultures within our local Japanese community. – Alysa Tomasa, freelance writer for The Hawai‘i Herald.

Lee Tonouchi

Da Hawai‘i Herald reminds me of my extended family gatherings, li’dat. Das wea we would find out all da latest news and informations about what everybody wuz doing. Das how we would learn about history cuz da küpuna would tell us about all da stories from before time. And das when we would practice our culture and traditions da mostest. Da Herald, its writers and its readers, we all stay part of one extended Hawai‘i Japanese Okinawan ‘ohana. As how we keep connected to our culture, to our history and to each oddahs. Aurite! – Lee Tonouchi, contributor to The Hawai‘i Herald.

Byrnes Yamashita

Aloha! My name is Byrnes Yamashita and I am a freelance writer for The Hawai‘i Herald. I volunteer with the Nisei Veterans Legacy and write articles that remind us of the contributions of the Nisei soldiers both during and after the war to help make Hawai‘i a better place to live. The Herald is an important piece of our Nikkei community that connects us all together in our common heritage and culture. – Byrnes Yamashita, freelance writer for The Hawai‘i Herald.


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