BUNKYO DELEGATION FROM BRAZIL VISITS HAWAII HOCHI
The 8th Annual Japanese Overseas Convention was held in Tökyö for three days starting on Monday, Oct. 16. It was held in person for the first time in four years, and nearly 200 people from 17 countries around the world participated. The theme for the discussions at the convention was “Progressing the Nikkei Society – Initiatives For a New Generation.”
Many Brazilians of Japanese ancestry attended for the first time; Rena Ishikawa, president of the Brazilian Japanese Cultural Welfare Association, gave the keynote speech.
Before heading to Japan the Brazilian Bunkyo (bunkyo.org.br/br) delegation stopped in Honolulu for a few days. Keith Sakuda, president of the United Japanese Society of Hawaii, led a tour for the delegation to interact with Hawai‘i’s Nikkei community.
Bunkyo is one of the five Japanese community organizations in Brazil, along with the Brazilian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Brazilian Federation of Prefectural Associations. Hawaii Hochi editor, Noriyoshi Kanaizumi, welcomed Bunkyo delegation members: Secretary General Tsuyoshi Nakajima; Assistant Chairman Ishige Shimizu; Seiko Kanagawa; and Patricia Takehana.
There are approximately 2 million people of Japanese ancestry in Brazil, and in recent years more than 200,000 have lived in Japan. As racial diversity continues to grow, interest in the Japanese language and culture is increasing, due in part to the popularity of anime.
JAPAN AIRLINES DONATES TO MAUI WILDFIRE RELIEF
Japan Airlines raised over $132,000 to support relief and recovery efforts for communities affected by the devastating Maui wildfires that occurred in August 2023. The airlines raised funds through a variety of fundraising efforts, including mileage donations and collection boxes from customers and employees in Japan and throughout the U.S., including Hawai‘i and the continental U.S. The airline held a check presentation ceremony to the Hawai‘i Community Foundation on Tuesday, Nov. 2 at the Governor’s Ceremony Room at the Hawai‘i State Capitol building.
“This donation is being given sincerely from the hearts of our customers and employees who passionately responded to the need to support the communities in Maui,” said Makoto Maezawa, senior vice president of Japan Airlines for the Americas. “Supporting one another represents the best of humanity, and we have been truly inspired by the tireless efforts of countless individuals involved in the relief and recovery efforts.”
Japan Airlines, Co., Ltd. is a major Japanese airline headquartered in Tökyö, Japan. The airline has been serving Hawai‘i since 1954.
Japan Airlines raised a total of $132,751.93, which includes $71,428.57 from Japan Airlines and an additional $61,323.36 from customers and employees. The fund raised will go towards the Maui Strong Fund of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation.
“The Japanese heritage is a part of the DNA of this community. The people of Hawai‘i benefited from that for many decades. This is just another acknowledgement of generosity that comes from the people of Japan,” said Micah Kane, the CEO and president of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation. “All gifts are special, but this gift included a lot of ambassadorship. You can see from the 93 cents, an imperfect number that shows the JAL team went and hustled.”
The Hawai‘i Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund provides financial resources to support the immediate and long-term recovery needs for the people and places affected by the Maui wildfires. HCF does not collect a fee for Maui Fund donations. Please note: there is a $0.30 transaction fee and a 2.5-3.5 percent processing fee charged by the credit card processor for online contributions.
For more information about the Hawaii Community Foundation, visit hawaiicommunityfoundation.org. To donate to the Maui Strong Fund, please visit hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/maui-strong.
UJSH ANNUAL TSUKIMI NO KAI
The United Japanese Society of Hawaii held its annual Tsukimi no Kai, or moon-viewing celebration, on Thursday, Oct. 19 at the Hawaii Okinawa Center in Waipi‘o. This year’s event was chaired by UJSH member Casey Miyashiro. Courtney Takara was the emcee who guided guests through the celestial celebration.
Guests enjoyed writing haiku, creating an ikebana arrangement and stargazing in the Issei garden through a seven-foot reflective telescope provided by Stargazers of Hawaii. They were able to view the evening’s elegant crescent moon and Saturn.
Bishop Daiya Amano of Izumo Taishakyo Mission of Hawaii performed a traditional Shintö tamagushi ceremony before an altar flowing with offerings of food for the gods and white streamers. Bishop Amano waved his haraegushi purification wand as guests contemplated gratitude for their good health and many blessings.
Tamagusuku Ryu Senjukai Frances Nakachi Ryubu Dojo performed two Okinawan dance numbers: the auspicious “Bashintui” and a lively “Hatoma Bushi.”
The evening was enhanced by celestial music by Darin Miyashiro on koto and Derek Fujio on flute.
Kaoru Nakamura-Sensei taught the attendees how to write a haiku poem. Her tips for writing haiku included: sharpen your five senses rather than relying on intellectual knowledge; seize a particular moment using common daily language; and draft, and redraft, refining your poem until you feel it is complete. Attendees could compose and enter the haiku contest. Nakamura-Sensei presented prize baskets to the best poems of the night.
The Iwakuni Odori Aiko Kai dance group brought the evening to a close by leading the guests in two upbeat bon dance numbers: “Tanko Bushi” and “Shiawase Ondo.”
When the festivities were over, the shy moon peeked through the clouds to shine upon everyone as they returned home.
The roots of Tsukimi no Kai date back to the Nara and Heian periods (710-1185) when China introduced the custom to Japan.
2023 KAUAI MATSURI
The Kauai Matsuri festival took place on Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall to celebrate a the significant Japanese influence on Kaua‘i’s history. Hosted by the Kaua‘i Japanese Cultural Society, the all-day event was free and open to the public.
Highlights of the Kauai Matsuri:
- Traditional Performances:
The festival features a variety of traditional Japanese performances, including taiko drumming (Taiko Kauai andTsunami Daiko), minyo shamisen (Madoka No Kai) and nihon buyo (Kauai Shin Buyo Kai; Hanayagi Mitsusumi Dance Studio; East Minyo Dance Club; Azuma Dance). These performances not only entertained the crowd but also showcased the cultural depth of Japanese performing arts throughout Hawai‘i.
2. Delicious Food
As food is a significant part of any cultural celebration, attendees are welcomed with a wide array of Japanese cuisine from sushi to mochi to freshly made udon noodles and so much more.
3. Art and Craft Exhibits
The festival also showcases a number of talented artists: Ayumi Amo, make-up artist (traditional Japanese dance cosplay); and craftsmen from Kauai Bonsai; ningyo (human fish) making by Yasuko of Tokushima; anime drawing and karuta card game with Yuriko Kihara; uchiwa (traditional Japanese fixed fan) and hachimaki (headband) with Alina from Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i), offering visitors the opportunity to appreciate and purchase traditional Japanese arts and crafts from locally sourced businesses.
4. Cultural Workshops & Demonstrations
The Kauai Matsuri provided attendees with the opportunity to engage in cultural workshops, such as chadö (tea ceremony by Urasenke Dokokai Kauai); kanzashi making with Crystal Morinaka Hirata; shodö (calligraphy) by Rev. Kohtoku Hirao; kado (flower arrangement) by Rie Ombrello, Mishoryu-style); mochi pounding by Miyazaki Family and Brian Yamamoto; and origami (paper folding), allowing guests to learn and participate in these harmonious cultural traditions.
5. Kimono Dressing
One of the most popular activities at the festival is the chance to be dressed and photographed in a traditional kimono. This experience granted families the opportunity to capture timeless memories of their loved ones while also learning the value and significance of the Japanese kimono.
This year marks a significant milestone for the Kauai Matsuri, as it celebrates the 60th anniversary of the sister-city relationship between Kaua‘i and Suo Oshima, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. To commemorate this occasion, a reaffirmation of the sister-city was planned. VIPs such as Kaua‘i’s mayor Derek Kawakami, Senator Shungaku Yanai, Yamaguchi Prefecture Legislator, Mayor Kiyotaka Fujimoto of Suo Oshima, and other distinguished guests were in attendance. Below is a list of all of the VIP guests that were present at this year’s Kauai Matsuri.
- Masayoshi Arakawa, chairman, County Council Suo Oshima
- Takumi Shiiki, president, Suo Oshima International Cultural Association
- Tomohiro Hoshino, Board of Education Suo Oshima
- Kouchi Yamasaki, Suo Oshima Tourism Bureau
- Motoi Yoshimura, member, Suo Oshima International Cultural Association (former mayor of Kuka Town), Suo Oshima
- Yoshihiro Suetake, executive assistant to Mayor Fujimoto and Mr. Shiiki
- Kensuke Nitta, executive staff, Suo Oshima
- Momoe Kitakawa, executive staff, Suo Oshima
- Tsuneo Suzuki, president, Iwaki Hawaii Exchange Association
- Kazuo Matsui, director, Hula Girl Koshien, Iwaki
In addition to these notable guests, the event featured Dillon Ancheta of KHON as the emcee and night darling of Maui for the Cosplay and Anime Contest. The program also showcased various talented individuals, including Shiho Yumeori (natori dancer); Ayumi Miyashiro (sculptor, painter, make-up effects artist, hair, and make-up artist); Anju Madoka (minyo and shamisen); Sheree Tamura (singer); Torao Hikariyama (singer); and others.
The Kauai Matsuri is more than just a showcase of Japanese culture; it is a testament to the Kaua‘i community. It gathers residents of all backgrounds and invites visitors to celebrate the island’s diversity and multicultural history. This festival bridges generational gaps and helps to foster a sense of belonging and understanding among the island’s community. One of the essential aspects of the Kauai Matsuri is its role in preserving traditional Japanese customs and practices. As the Sansei and Yonsei generations are quickly emerging, the Kauai Matsuri serves as a cultural enclave that seamlessly works in keeping these historical Japanese traditions alive. It educates the younger generation about their roots and the importance of cultural preservation and resilience. It’s an event that not only entertains and educates, but also leaves an everlasting impression on all that attend.
-Written by Sheera and Sheree Tamura
NATURE CONSERVANCY AWARD
On Friday, Nov. 3, The Nature Conservancy, Hawai‘i and Palmyra (TNC) announced the presentation of the Kāko‘o ‘Āina Award to David Okita, a pilot who has been working with TNC to support conservation of Hawai‘i Island’s watersheds for four decades.
Having been involved in nearly every conservation project on the island of Hawai‘i during his career, Okita has flown researchers and land managers in and out of remote valleys and rainforests; piloted surveys of ungulates and spotted invasive plants and animals in places they did not belong; delivered materials to build hundreds of miles of fences protecting endangered plants and forested watersheds; and rescued lost hikers from these isolated places. In addition, land managers have relied heavily on Okita for fighting wildfires.
Due to the nature of his job as a helicopter pilot, Okita has been able to detect patterns across the landscape such as decline in native canopy cover and increase in problematic weed infestations. After axis deer were illegally introduced to Hawai‘i Island in 2009, he piloted the response team into position to detect and remove them in the early 2010s.
“It is our sincere honor to recognize and celebrate Dave, who has been a trusted and dedicated partner to many who mālama ‘āina,” said Ulalia Woodside Lee, the executive director of TNC’s Hawai‘i and Palmyra Program. “Dave’s deep knowledge of landscapes and ecosystems coupled with his dedication to Hawai‘i have made an immeasurable contribution to conservation.”
Established in 2006, TNC’s Kāko‘o ‘Āina award honors groups and individuals who have provided significant and long-standing support for conservation in Hawai‘i. “Kāko‘o ‘Āina” is translated as “one who supports the land.”
Previous Kāko‘o ‘Āina awards have been presented on Hawai‘i Island in 2006 to Jack Jeffrey; in 2012 to Bill Gilmartin; and in 2015 to Ku‘ulei Keakealani, Leina‘ala Keakealani Lightner; and Hannah Springer.
The Kāko‘o ‘Āina award presentation included a ko’oko‘o, or staff, handcarved by master Hawaiian woodworker Kunāne Wooton, and an oli, or chant, composed by TNC staff.
For more information about The Nature Conservancy, please visit nature.org/HawaiiPalmyra.
PREORDER “TEACHING JOY”
On Friday, Nov. 24, seasoned educators Greg Bowman, Alan Suemori and Gabriel Yanagihara, are launching their new book, “Teaching Joy: Creating a Joyful Middle School Classroom,” edited by Peter Greenhill.
The book is a guide to understanding and nurturing the intricate tapestry of middle school development. Not just a book with pedagogical strategies, “Teaching Joy” is a journey into the heart of teaching, emphasizing the human connection and the joy of learning. The book dives into the complexities of the cognitive, emotional and social development of middle schoolers, providing practical tools and insights to foster joy, empathy and effective learning in the classroom. “Teaching Joy” urges educators to see beyond the curriculum, celebrating the unique experiences, dreams and aspirations of each student.
Bowman, an Army veteran and an educator, coach and camp administrator of nearly 50 years, is a world religion teacher at ‘Iolani School. Suemori, a longtime Hawai’i Herald contributor and English and history teacher at ‘Iolani for 31 years, is also the co-author with Bowman of “Leilani: Blessed and Grateful,” a children’s book about the legacy of King Kaläkaua and Queen Kap‘iolani. Along with Wendell Silva and Shuzo Uemoto, Suemori is also the co-author of “Nana I Na Loea Hula,” a compilation of oral histories and black-and-white portrait photographs documenting the traditional hula resources of Hawai‘i. Yanagihara teaches classes tailored for the digital generation in coding, AI, 3-D printing, e-sports and game design and has delivered countless professional development workshops ranging from District Area Keynotes to TED Talks, sharing his insights and expertise on the evolving landscape of teaching and learning.
Bowman, Suemori and Yanagihara use their classroom experience to offer real-world insights and actionable advice, focusing on human connection.
The book is available in both in paperback ($24.99) and Kindle ($8.99). To pre-order the book on Amazon, please visit amazon.com and search for “Teaching Joy: Creating a Joyful Middle School Classroom.” For more information, please visit gabrielyanagihara.com/book-order-teaching-joy.