Group photo of the 65th Cherry Blossom Festival Court

Spotlight – Heather Omori Chosen as the 65th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen

SPOTLIGHT BY Gwen Battad Ishikawa Gwen Battad Ishikawa Kansha (gratitude) and Kokoro (heart) were the themes, respectively, of the 64th and 65th Cherry Blossom festivals, sponsored by the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce. Heather Kiyomi Omori, who was chosen queen of the 65th Cherry Blossom Festival on March 18 at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel,....
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....
Photo of the Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Contestants

Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Contestants (p. 2 of 4)

Lori Satoki Kim Parents: Eric and Karen Kim High School: Pacific Buddhist Academy, 2007 College/Degree/Year: University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa, bachelor’s degree in business administration – accounting, 2012. “What does kokoro mean to you?” “Growing up, Kokoro always meant heart. It meant using my heart to always try and show compassion to others, a thought....
Photo of the Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Contestants

Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Contestants (p. 3 of 4)

Kaelyn Sachiko Okuhata Parents: Kevin and Lori Okuhata High School: King Kekaulike High School (Hawai‘i Island), 2012 College/Degree/Year: Chapman University, bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing and a minor in art studio, 2016 “What does kokoro mean to you?” “Last winter in the Colorado Rockies, I saw snowfall for the first....
Photo of the Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Contestants

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

Ruth Mariko Taketa Family: Carol Sato (mother) and Jonathan Taketa (brother) High School: Roosevelt High School, 2011 College/Degree/Year: University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa, bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, 2016. “What does kokoro mean to you?” “Kokoro is the careful balance of the heart, mind, and spirit. I think of kokoro as a combination of each characteristic....
Photo of the three sister courts gathering for a group photo while attending the 76th Nisei Week coronation in Los Angeles.

Cherry Blossom Festival Special – Queen Interview

Alexis Sayuri Okihara 64th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Looks Forward to Sharing Knowledge with Future Generations Gwen Battad Ishikawa It is fitting that kansha (gratitude) was the theme of the 64th Cherry Blossom Festival, because kansha is what Queen Alexis Okihara has felt for the past year. “They [Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce, who....
Group photo of the 65th Cherry Blossom Festival queen contestants.

Community Focus – 65th Cherry Blossom Festival Contestants Introduced

The 65th Cherry Blossom Festival was officially launched on Jan. 8, with the 15 queen contestants introduced at the New Year’s ‘Ohana Festival at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i. Kokoro, the Japanese word for heart, mind and spirit, is the theme for this year’s festival. “Kokoro embodies the spirit of the Cherry Blossom Festival....

Sarah Kiyomi Kamida

Gwen Battad Ishikawa Every year, the Herald interviews the outgoing Cherry Blossom Festival queen as she prepares to pass on her crown to her successor. What are some of the changes that have taken place...

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...

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