On Tuesday, March 14 at the Consul General’s official residence, Michael Allen Carr, president and chief executive officer of the USS Missouri Memorial Association, Inc., was conferred the 2022 Fall Imperial Decoration, The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, for his contributions to promoting understanding of Japan in the United States and friendly relations between Japan and the United States.

As the president and chief executive officer of the USS Missouri Memorial Association, Inc., Carr has been dedicated to creating a neutral exhibit of the history of World War II from the viewpoints of both Japan and the United States at the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the ship he regards as a symbol of international peace for the two countries and the world. He actively works to enhance the exchanges and partnerships with war history and peace museums in Japan. Through these tireless efforts, he continues to make significant contributions to promoting reconciliation between Japan and the United States as well as strengthening the friendship between both countries.

Consul General Yukata Aoki and Michael Allen Carr. (Photo courtesy of the Consul General of Japan)

At the ceremony, Consul General Yutaka Aoki delivered a congratulatory message and expressed his gratitude for Mr. Carr’s contribution to promoting reconciliation and strengthening the friendship between Japan and the United States, followed by the conferment ceremony. Carr also delivered a speech, then, Murray Clay, member of the USS Missouri Board of Director delivered a congratulatory address on behalf of the guests, and CAPT(Ret) Steven Colon, chairman of USS Missouri Board of Director made a toast. Carr stated that he accepts the decoration on behalf of the entire organization, including the Board of Directors, staff and volunteers, and graciously shares the award with them.


The Consulate General of Japan held an Award Presentation Ceremony for the 2023 Monbukagakusho (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology) Research Student (Kenkyuu Ryuugakusei) Scholarship on Wednesday, March 22.  This year’s scholarship recipient, Melody Chung, was recommended by the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu, and she will be going to Japan for two years starting this spring to conduct graduate research.

Melody Kawaiokalani Chung, a graduate of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (bachelor‘s in Japanese), will conduct research in the field of International Culture and Communication at Waseda University in Tokyo from April 2023 through March 2025.

Melody Chung was awarded the MEXT (Research Student) Scholarship. (Photo Courtesy of the Consul General of Japan)


On Saturday, March 25, the Sons and Daughters of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team celebrated the 80th anniversary of the formation of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team at Hale Ikena in Fort Shafter. Nearly 150 guests were in attendance, including veteran Roy Fujii (B Battery, 522nd Field Artillery Battalion), widows of 442nd RCT veterans, Cynthia Doi (widow of Masato Doi), Laura Miho (widow of Katsugo Miho) and Mildred Tahara (widow of Yoshiyuki Tahara), as well as Larry Yogi, whose brother Matsuichi Yogi died in the war.

The banquet celebrates the 80th anniversary of the nearly all-Japanese 442nd Regimental Combat Team, organized a year after President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which authorized the forced incarceration of over 120,000 individuals of mainly Japanese descent after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The 442nd RCT is remembered for their bravery during World War II, fighting for the United States government while combating racism at home. The 442nd RCT, with the 100th Infantry Battalion, remains the most decorated U.S. military unit for its size and length of service in the nation’s history.

In celebration, the Hale Ikena foyer was adorned with a life-sized banner of the infamous photo of the 442nd RCT soldiers wearing lei and standing in formation in front of ‘Iolani Palace before departing for training at Camp Shelby; artwork representing the Purple Hearts awarded to the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd RCT to soldiers wounded or killed in action while serving in the U.S. Military; as well as information on the Sons and Daughters of the 442nd RCT annual report, including updates on its archives project, 442nd RCT flags project, soldier biographies project and Okage Sama De Award. 

Karl Okemura, president of the 442nd Veterans Club, shared a rarely seen photo of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team at `Iolani Palace. (Photo by Summer Nakaishi)

The banquet doors opened to the sounds of Honpa Hongwanji Taiko Drum Group, followed by the 442nd RCT guidon procession, where attendees marched with the pennant representing their veteran’s respective unit/company/battery, carrying a framed photo of their 442nd RCT veteran in the processional. After marching through the hall, attendees placed the photo on a table alongside the other veterans. JROTC Cadets from Punahou School marched with the presentation of colors. 

Emcee Ron Nagasawa, from Oahu Publications, Inc., remarked how seeing all the veterans’ photos during guidon were “like having the men themselves with us, in spirit.”

Sandra Tsukiyama led the attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance and singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and “Hawai‘i Pono‘i.” 

Karl Okemura, president of the 442nd Veterans Club, said, “Thank you, to the 100th Infantry Battalion Separate, whose heroic actions in combat convinced President Roosevelt to form the 442nd RCT, the unsung heroes MIS and 1399 Engineers. We celebrate you, today here, as well. We offer our deepest respect and gratitude for the lives we as descendants enjoy today.” 

Okemura shared rarely seen photos from the private veterans’ clubhouse – a bird’s eye photo of the 2,500 442nd RCT soldiers taken from the ‘Iolani Palace rooftop and an infamous photo from the Rescue of the Lost Battalion, signed by all four color guards pictured. 

Also in attendance was Governor Josh Green, M.D., who thanked the veterans for their service and stressed that the extraordinary sacrifices of the 442nd RCT cannot be forgotten. “It’s extraordinary to think how connected we are,” remarked Governor Green, who said that coming from the east coast, he couldn’t have possibly imagined that his relatives were touched by the people whose relatives were present in that room, but they were. Governor Green discussed how soldiers like Fujii went into battle to rescue people like his Jewish aunts and uncles and thanked the veterans for protecting all of us, and reminding us that when we come together, we come together as a larger symbol of strength. 

Next, Nagasawa read a letter by Mayor Rick Blangiardi, followed by greetings from Janice Sakoda, president of the 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans; Karen Kikukawa, president of MIS Club; Diedre Teagarden, president of Maui Nisei Veterans Memorial Center; Shawn Brinsfield, president of Seattle Nisei Veterans Committee Foundation; and Hanako Wakatsuki-Chong, superintendent of Honouliuli Historic Site, then Grace Tsubata Fujii, president of the Sons and Daughters of the 442nd RCT gave the invocation. 

After a buffet lunch, Nagasawa presented the 80th anniversary cakes, which read “80th Anniversary 442nd RCT Go for Broke!” Next, Zita Cup Choy, a historian at ‘Iolani Palace presented palace connections. 

Keynote speaker Ken Inouye reminisced about growing up around the 442nd RCT clubhouse with his father, Sen. Daniel Inouye, and discussed how his father wanted him to understand their family’s history. 

“I remember my father saying to me, ‘we were just ordinary guys, but ordinary people do extraordinary things under extraordinary circumstances.’ And these were very extraordinary circumstances.”

Like the previous banquet speakers, Inouye stated the importance in keeping the 442nd RCT legacy alive. “Through the actions of [Sen. Inouye] and his brothers in arms, he and others proved their loyalty to the U.S. and proved that they were just as American as anyone else. Stories like that deserve to be told, retold and remembered, not just within the community that we are part of here, but in America.” 

Okemura presented certificates of appreciation, including Col. Steve McGunegle, Garrison Commander for the U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii. 

To close the ceremony, attendees stood and sang the “Go for Broke” song, and JROTC cadets returned with the retiring of the colors.


East Hawaii Hiroshima Kenjin Kai announces it is offering up to two $1,000 scholarships to graduating seniors who plan to continue their post high school education this fall. Applicants must be a senior at any east Hawai‘i public or private high school and must enroll full time at any accredited college or university for the 2023-2024 academic year, registering for 12 credits or more. Scholarships to be applied to tuition, room and board, books, travel or other expenses at the college or university of the applicant’s choice.

The applicant must be a child of an East Hawaii Hiroshima Kenjin Kai member in good standing (dues paid). Preference will be given to the candidate with the best combination of academic, co-curricular and extracurricular achievements, with the highest potential for academic success. Bonus points may be awarded for financial need and/or material/active participation in the East Hawaii Hiroshima Kenjin Kai organization (by the applicant, applicant’s parent(s), or grandparent(s)). 

Application forms and instructions are available at the counselor offices at east Hawai‘i public and private high schools. The deadline for the 2023-2024 scholarships is Saturday, April 15. Applications must be postmarked by this date. 

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact East Hawaii Hiroshima Kenjin Kai Scholarship Chair Lori Nekoba at 808-938-6616.


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