Shirley Iida (left) presents third prize winner Laurie Ide of Pearl City with an Iida’s gift basket filled with precious Japanese goods.

Spotlight – “Guess the Cherry Blossom Queen” Prizes Awarded

Hawaii Hochi, Ltd.’s 36th annual “Guess the Cherry Blossom Festival Queen” Contest concluded this year with the presentation of the prizes to their respective winners. This year’s sponsors were:
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Community Focus – JCAH to Honor Hirano Store and Yamada Furniture

The East Hawai‘i-based Japanese Community Association of Hawaii will recognize two longtime businesses at its sixth annual Nikkei Kigyo banquet, set for Friday, May 10, at Nani Mau Gardens. Hirano Store, which was established 1918, and Yamada Furniture, founded in 1929, will be presented JCAH’s 2019 Nikkei Kigyo Award. “We’re proud to recognize both companies....
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Community Focus – Hui O Laulima Accepting Applications for 2020 Cultural Grants

Applications are being accepted for Hui O Laulima’s 2020 Cultural Grant program aimed at preserving, perpetuating and promoting Okinawan culture. Since 1984, Hui O Laulima has awarded more than $200,000 in grants and scholarships to individuals and organizations for projects that fulfill its mission of preserving, perpetuating and promoting Okinawan culture. The grants are awarded....
The 2019 “Living Treasures of Hawai‘i.” Seated from left are Earl Kawa‘a, Gertrude Tsutsumi, John Hara and Jimmy Yagi. Standing behind them are Bishop Eric Matsumoto of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii and its president, Pieper Toyama.

Community Focus – Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii Honors 44th “Living Treasure” Group

The Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii held its 44th annual Living Treasures of Hawai‘i program on Feb. 9 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The program recognizes individuals for their sustained contributions to enriching our society. Honored were former University of Hawai‘i at Hilo men’s basketball coach James “Jimmy” Yagi, architect and environmental design pioneer John....
Iemoto Kimura-Sösho from Kyöto prepares the first cup of tea, which was offered to the spirit of Sen no Rikyu.

Community Focus – Omotesenke Domonkai Hawaii Honors Founder Sen No Rikyu

Omotesenke Domonkai Hawaii held a memorial tea ceremony in honor of its founder, tea master Sen no Rikyu (1522-1591). The April 13 ceremony was held in the Seikoan Tea Room at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i. Iemoto (grandmaster) Kimura-Sösho, the 15th grandmaster in the Omotesenke Domonkai line, came especially from Kyöto to perform the....
The 67th Cherry Blossom court, from left: Miss Congeniality Reeann Minatoya, Princess Katrina Shimomura, First Princess Kayla Ueshiro, Queen Lauren Sugai, Princess Ariel Lee and Princess and Miss Popularity Taylor Chee. (Photo courtesy of HJJCC)

Spotlight – Lauren Sugai Crowned Cherry Blossom Queen

Jodie Chiemi Ching On March 16, Lauren Akemi Sugai was crowned the 67th Cherry Blossom Festival queen at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel, marking the climax of the 2019 festival, sponsored by the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce. In an interview with The Hawai‘i Herald, Sugai shared her Cherry Blossom Festival experience. When her name....
Former Gov. George Ariyoshi in a group photo with the Hawaii Fukuoka Kenjin Kai’s 2019 officers and directors.

Community Focus – Hawaii Fukuoka Kenjin Kai Welcomes “Year of the Boar”

The Hawaii Fukuoka Kenjin Kai welcomed the “Year of the Boar” at its annual general membership meeting and shinnenkai at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i on Feb. 10. Special guests included former Hawai‘i Gov. George Ariyoshi and his wife Jean, and Consul General of Japan Koichi Ito and his wife Misako. President Keith Sakuda....
Professor Hirotaka Arai leads the Hakuoh University Handbell Choir playing their numerous handbells.

Community Focus – Hakuoh University Handbell Choir Performs in Hawaii

The Hakuoh University Handbell Choir shared its amazing handbell music at a friendship luncheon hosted by Hakuoh vice president and board chair Joji Kamioka on Feb. 19 at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i. The choir also presented free concerts at Central Union Church, Windward Community College and Leeward Community College.
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Community Focus – Hawaii Island AJA Veterans Group Offers Scholarships

The Hawaii Island AJA Veterans Legacy Association is accepting applications for up to two $1,000 scholarships that will be awarded to graduating seniors who plan to continue their post high school education this fall. The scholarships are funded by the Hawaii Island AJA Veteran Legacy Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community organization dedicated to honoring and....
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.

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