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The 66th Cherry Blossom Festival contestants were introduced at the Ohana Festival. They are (from left): Mika Nakashige, Colette Masunaga, Kristen Yamamoto, Kaydi Hashima, Rhianna Taniguchi, Ariel Stenek, Melanie Carrié, Joy Nakahara, Kylie Hisatake, Chelsea Briggs, Cindy Nakagawa, Renni Iwasa, Karly Kaneshiro, Shelby Meador and Jordie Ocenar. (Photo courtesy Cherry Blossom Festival)

Spotlight – Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Contestants Introduced

The 66th Cherry Blossom Festival got its official kick-off on Jan. 14 with the introduction of the 15 queen contestants at the New Year’s ‘Ohana Festival, presented by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i. The Cherry Blossom Festival is sponsored annually by the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce. This year’s festival theme is Inspire.....
Cherry Blossom Festival queen Lauren Sugai randomly drew the winning ballots of the 36th “Guess the Cherry Blossom Festival Queen” contest. She is pictured with Hawaii Hochi, Ltd. president Taro Yoshida.

Community Focus – Queen Lauren Sugai Draws “Guess the Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Contest”...

Newly crowned Cherry Blossom Festival queen Lauren Sugai drew the winning entries in the 36th “Guess the Cherry Blossom Festival Queen” contest. Sugai pulled Käne‘ohe resident Jemalee Wong’s ballot for the first prize of a $500 travel gift certificate from Regal Travel.
Photo of the Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Contestants

Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Contestants (p. 1 of 4)

Jennifer Keiko Ezaki Parents: Bruce and Laura Ezaki High School: Our Redeemer Lutheran, 2009 College/Degree/Year: Biola University, bachelor’s degree in communication, 2013; University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa, post baccalaureate certification in special education, 2016. “What does kokoro mean to you?” “Kokoro is a reminder for me to remain present and connected in a constantly changing....
MariCAR adventure through the streets of Tokyo. Heather is third from right, front row. (Photos courtesy Heather Omori)

Queen Interview – “I Know Who I Am”

65th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Heather Omori Reflects on the Past Year Gwen Battad Ishikawa As any Cherry Blossom Festival queen will tell you, their year as queen was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and a whirlwind one at that. It’s been nearly a year since Heather Kiyomi Omori was crowned the 65th Cherry Blossom Festival queen.....
Graphic for the 66th Cherry Blossom Festival Contestants

66th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Contestants (part I)

CHELSEA MOMOKA BRIGGS Parents: Raymond Briggs and Tia Takae Briggs High School: Kapolei High School, 2016 College/Degree: University of Hawai‘i – West O‘ahu, bachelor’s degree in political science and business administration – finance, anticipated graduation in 2020. Occupation: Student, AVID tutor and college math peer academic leader. What or Who Inspires You? “All my life....
67th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Contestants: Kayla Ueshiro (left), Lauren Sugai (center), Katrina Shimomura (right)

67th Cherry Blossom Festival – Queen Contestants (part III)

KATRINA EIKO SHIMOMURA Parents: Karen and Arnold Shimomura High School: Mililani High School College/Degree: University of Hawai’i at Mänoa, Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering candidate Occupation: Student and Part-time Security What or who drives you to keep moving forward? “What inspires me to keep moving forward is my family. They’ve shown me strength from....

Win a free trip to Japan!

To everyone out there in cyberspace, allow me to wish you all a Happy February! In honor of this new month, I bring you a gift: the chance to win a free trip to...
65th Cherry Blossom Festival queen Heather Omori holds up a winning ballot as Hawaii Hochi president Taro Yoshida looks on.

Community – “Guess The Cherry Blossom Festival Queen” Contest Winners

On March 31, Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Heather Omori drew the winners of the 34th “Guess the Cherry Blossom Festival Queen” contest, sponsored by The Hawai‘i Herald and Hawaii Hochi. With a perfect ballot, Betty H. Higa of Käne‘ohe was the first prize winner of a round-trip for two to wherever Island Air flies in....
Chrysanthemum Festival Contestants: (starting from top left) Sokah Furumoto, Kristi Echiverri, Makaylen Tadeo, Jaelynn Nobriga, and Paige Maki Nagahama

Community Focus – Chrysanthemum Festival Set for Dec. 2 in Wailuku

The 65th Chrysanthemum Festival, a Maui Japanese tradition that raises funds for scholarships and the historical preservation programs of its sponsor, Maui’s Sons and Daughters of the Nisei Veterans, will be held Saturday, Dec. 2, at the Velma McWayne Santos Community Center in Wailuku. Teens from five Maui high schools are vying for the Chrysanthemum....
Queen Melanie Carríe at the Jan. 13 opening ceremonies of the 2019-2020 Cherry Blossom Festival, which was held at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i. (Photos courtesy Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce)

67th Cherry Blossom Festival – Queen Interview, Queen Melanie Carríe: Time Now to “Give...

Departing Cherry Blossom Queen Melanie Carríe Looks Ahead to a New Chapter Jodie Chiemi Ching In the 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival souvenir booklet published by the festival’s sponsor, the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce, queen contestant Melanie Camille Michiko Carríe wrote: “I am inspired by the idea that obstacles are stepping stones towards the....

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