“Fibiku – Resonating Toward a Brilliant Future” was the theme for the celebration and debut of two Ryukyuan koto schools in Hawai‘i: Soho Miki no Kai directed by Lisa Sadaoka (Yonsei) and Soho Ryuon no Kai, directed by Sara Nakatsu (Yonsei). Brian Tamamoto served as the emcee for the occasion. On Sunday, Oct. 1 at the Hawaii Okinawa Center, Bonnie Miyashiro, director and instructor of Miyashiro Soho Kai, shared her words of pride and support for her two protege students. Miyashiro also expressed her gratitude to her mentors, students and family who all made the milestones of her life and career possible.

Attendees enjoyed a musical performance from the instructors. Sadaoka and Nakatsu sang and played a classical Rykuan song titled “Agichikuten” together. This was followed by Sadaoka’s solo “Mutu Akata Hanafuu” and Nakatsu’s solo “Karaya Bushi.”

The most heartwarming part of the program was the presentation of certificates and heirloom koto to both students. Miyashiro explained that the two koto gifted to Sadaoka and Nakatsu represented a “legacy passed down to the most accomplished koto players.”

Lisa Sadaoka and Sara Nakatsu perform at the debut celebration of their newly established koto schools Soho Miki no Kai and Soho Ryuon no Kai. (Photo by Jodie Ching)
Lisa Sadaoka and Sara Nakatsu perform at the debut celebration of their newly established koto schools Soho Miki no Kai and Soho Ryuon no Kai. (Photo by Jodie Ching)

Presentations of letters from Gov. Josh Green and Mayor Rick Blangiardi were made to Miyashiro. In his letter of recognition, Gov. Green recognized her as “a beacon of cultural guidance,” and the mayor recognized her lifetime commitment to the Okinawan community and performing arts.

The local band Tradewinds provided the lunchtime entertainment. Bonnie Miyashiro, Lisa Sadaoka and Sara Nakatsu were adorned with gifts and lei from friends and family. Miyashiro expressed her gratitude to the organizers of the event, her siblings Patty, Carl and Kent Miyashiro.

If you are interested in learning to play Ryukyuan koto, please contact Lisa or Sara.

Lisa Sadaoka, Soho Miki no Kai: (808) 780-7404

Sara Nakatsu, Soho Ryuon no Kai: ryuonnokai@yahoo.com


Award-winning playwright Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl will teach a free class for local playwrights through Kumu Kahua Theatre’s STAGES (Supporting Theatre Arts – Guidance and Education Series) program for six consecutive Saturdays, starting from Oct. 28 through Dec. 2 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This free class is supported by the Kumu Kahua Theatre Board of Directors and will be taught via the Kumu Kahua Theatre virtual classroom.

Kumu Kahua Theatre was founded in 1971 by a group of graduate students at the University of Hawai‘i, with the original goal of producing locally written experimental works. The Hawaiian language words kumu and kahua translate to “original stage.” At the time, there were no local theaters devoted to telling stories of the islands and its various cultures. In 1982, Kumu Kahua was granted not-for-profit status and in 1994, the Hawai‘i state legislature awarded the group its current 100-seat playhouse in downtown Honolulu at 46 Merchant Street. Kumu Kahua is still the only theatre that is solely dedicated to creating, supporting and showcasing original works of theatre specifically related to our geographical region and the cultures represented here, year-round. Kumu Kahua has helped develop more than 250 original works that has influenced hundreds of actors, playwrights, directors, technicians and community members.

STAGES was designed to uplift the ‘Oahu theater community by offering free classes and workshops to theater artists, so that finance is not a barrier for residents to receive instruction and hone their theatre arts skills.

Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl. (Photo courtesy of Kumu Kahua Theatre)
Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl. (Photo courtesy of Kumu Kahua Theatre)

Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl is an experienced and award-winning Hawaiian and Samoan playwright and author born in Honolulu. Many of her plays have been produced by Kumu Kahua, including “Ola Nä Iwi” (twice) and “Fanny and Belle” and “The Conversion of Ka‘ahumanu.” Kumu Kahua Theatre specially commissioned Kneubuhl’s production, “The Holiday of Rain.” Several of her plays have toured Britain, the continental U.S., Asia and the Pacific. Kneubuhl has been actively involved in producing many community performance programs that reflect the unique history of her island home. She also served as producer/writer for the TV series “Biography Hawai’i.” She was named one of the Extraordinary Women on Hawai‘i in 2001 by the Foundation for Hawai‘i Women’s History and the Native Hawaiian Library of Alu Like, Inc. In 1994, she was honored with the Hawai‘i Award for Literature, the highest honor the state of Hawai‘i bestows on a writer. In 2006, she received the Elliot Cades Award for Literature. The University of Hawai’i Press published “Hawai‘i Nei,” a collection of three plays, as well as three mysteries, “Murder Casts a Shadow,” “Murder Leaves Its Mark,” and “Murder Frames the Scene.”

In Kneubuhl’s course, students will learn the basic elements of playwriting and begin creating their own scripts. This six-week course is meant for beginning playwrights but may also be useful to writers who want to sharpen their skills. As a participant, students will be asked to read two plays, complete writing exercises, participate in reading scripts out loud and join in discussions as well as be present with energy and enthusiasm. There will be an emphasis on the technical aspects of playwriting in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

The free course is limited to 12 people and students will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. The only class requirement is that the student must have internet connectivity.

To apply, please visit: kumukahua.org/auditions/kumu-kahua-theatrenbspplaywriting-class-taught-by-victoria-nalani-kneubuhl.


Low-interest federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans are now available to small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in Hawai‘i, Honolulu and Kaua‘i counties as a result of wildfires that began Tuesday, Aug. 8 in Maui County, announced Isabella Casillas Guzman, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is a voice for small businesses backed by the federal government and empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, expand their businesses or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through a network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations.

Eligibility for EIDL loans is based on the financial impact of the disaster only and not on any actual property damage. These loans have an interest rate of 4% for small businesses and 2.375% for private nonprofit organizations with terms up to 30 years, and are restricted to small businesses without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.

Following recent SBA rule changes, interest does not begin to accrue until 12 months from the date of the initial disaster loan disbursement. SBA disaster loan repayment begins 12 months from the date of the first disbursement.

Since Saturday, Sept. 2, SBA opened Business Recovery Centers in Honolulu and Maui. No appointment is necessary. All services are provided free of charge. The center will open as indicated below.


Business Recovery Center
Hawaii Foreign – Trade Zone No. 9
521 Ala Moana Blvd., Ste. # 201, Pier 2
Honolulu, HI  96813

Mondays – Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

SBA representatives will meet with each business owner to explain how an SBA disaster loan can help finance their recovery and answer questions about SBA’s disaster loan program, explain the application process and help each business owner complete their electronic loan application.

Homeowners and renters from Maui who have been displaced by the Maui wildfires, may also visit the center to meet with SBA customer service representatives and apply for SBA disaster loan assistance.

As SBA previously announced, SBA representatives continue to be available at the following Business Recovery Center in Kihei to provide information on SBA disaster loans and business assistance on the dates and times indicated.


Business Recovery Center
Hawaii Technology Development Corporation
Maui Research Technology Center
Building # A, Ste. 119 (Conference Room)
590 Lipoa Pkwy.
Kihei, HI  96753

Mondays – Fridays, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

According to Interim State Director Joseph Burns, Hawaii Small Business Development Center business advisors can provide business assistance to clients on a wide variety of matters designed to help small business owners re-establish their operations, overcome the effects of the disaster and plan for their future.

“Services include assessing business working capital needs, evaluating the business’s strength, cash flow projections, and most importantly, a review of options with the business owner to help them evaluate their alternatives and make decisions that are appropriate for their situation,” Burns said.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, nonprofit organizations of any size, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any property damage.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at sba.gov/hawaii-wildfires. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. For people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX  76155.

The deadline to apply for economic injury assistance is May 10, 2024.

To learn more, visit sba.gov.


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