Sheree Tamura and Faye Shigemura with the UJSH’s Kenjinkai Outstanding Members.
Sheree Tamura and Faye Shigemura with the UJSH’s Kenjinkai Outstanding Members.

The United Japanese Society of Hawaii installed its 2018-19 officers and directors on June 23 at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i.

The program began with the observance of a moment of silence in memory of deceased members, particularly longtime UJSH members Roy Tominaga, who served as 2007-08 president, and Joseph Muratsuchi.

Onoe Kikunobukazu (Howard Asao) and Onoe Kikunobutomi (Brandon Goda) performed the Japanese dance “Shishi no Rankyoku.”

In her outgoing president’s message, Sheree Tamura said it was a privilege and an honor to have served as 2017-18 president and to have worked with the various kenjinkai in Hawai‘i. She said people volunteer for many reasons — some just because they enjoy participating in UJSH activities, others because UJSH connects them to their family from Japan and still others who feel UJSH helps them understand their roots.

The 2018-19 officers were installed by Circuit Judge Linda Martell. They are: president Faye K. Shigemura, president-elect the Rev. Akihiro Okada; vice presidents Terrence Kai, Frances Nakachi Kuba, Kanzo Nara, Wallace Watanabe and Hironori Yamamoto; secretaries Annette Matsumoto and Fusayo Nagai; treasurers David Jones, Janice Matsuura and Norman Nakasone; auditors Christopher Kanehiro and James Sato; immediate past president Sheree Tamura and 30 directors. Consul General of Japan Koichi Ito will serve as honorary advisor.

Shigemura, who has been involved in UJSH for several years, said she was greatly honored to serve as president and asked for everyone’s continued support for the organization and herself. She thanked outgoing president Sheree Tamura and the people being honored later in the program for their service to UJSH and the community.

Shigemura said that after much contemplation, she selected “Kaiso,” the Japanese word meaning “reflection,” as the theme for her term as president. In her incoming president’s message, she wrote: “One day, I thought about my friends who both lost their mothers within a span of a one-month period. Reflection came to mind. Kaiso. We should all make ‘kaiso time’ at least once a week for self-reflection as we put ourselves to bed for the night. We may be surprised at what we find,” Shigemura wrote.

“Thank you for putting your trust in me and in the board of directors to lead UJSH through the next year,” she said. “We will put our wholehearted energy into this year. Kotoshi mo isshoni ganbarimasho (Again this year, let us all persevere!).”

The installation banquet is traditionally the occasion to present the Kenjin Kai Outstanding Member Awards. Honored were: Annette Matsumoto, Central Oahu Kumamoto Kenjin Kai; Brian Suzuki, Hawaii Fukuoka Kenjin Kai; Sanae Haramura, Hawaii Kagoshima Kenjin Kai; Fusae Kato, Hawaii Miyagi Kenjin Kai; Kayo Mamaclay, Hawaii Miyazaki Kenjin Kai; Sachiko Aresta, Hawaii Oita Kenjin Kai; Vince Watabu, Hawaii United Okinawa Association; Hiroko Okabe, Hawaii Yamagata Kenjin Kai; Lea Scow, Hawaii Yamanashi Kyo Yu Kai; Aileen Moriwake, Honolulu Fukushima Kenjin Kai; Kyoji Koitabashi, Hokkaido Jin Kai; Robert Nagao, Honolulu Hiroshima Kenjin Kai; Lorin Tanouye, Honolulu Kumamoto Kenjin Kai; Evelyn Nakamura, Honolulu Niigata Kenjin Kai; and Nancy Yokoyama, Honolulu Yamaguchi Kenjin Kai. Brian Suzuki of the Hawaii Fukuoka Kenjin Kai spoke on behalf of the honorees, expressing their gratitude to UJSH for recognizing them.

The organization also presented its Member of the Year Award to the husband-and-wife team of Seichi and Fusayo “Fussy” Nagai, who have served their respective and each other’s kenjinkai (Hawaii Fukuoka Kenjin Kai for Fussy, and Wahiawa-Waialua Hiroshima Kenjin Kai for Seichi) and the UJSH. The couple’s talented grandsons, Tanner and Devin Teruya, sang the song “For Good” for their grandparents and the audience.

The UJSH “Award for Contributions to the Japanese Community in Hawaii” was presented to Noboru Hayase and Hirotaka “Jack” Tsujihara. Hayase and Tsujihara were both born n Japan, but embraced their adopted home of Hawai‘i and the United States.

Hayase, who is 88, has been actively involved in the Hawaii Meiji Kai, made up of Japanese military veterans living in Hawai‘i and U.S. military veterans and the peaceful harmony they strive to promote.

Tsujihara is involved in a number of Central O‘ahu Nikkei organizations, including the
Wahiawa-Waialua Hiroshima Kenjin Kai, Wahiawa Hongwanji Mission and the Wahiawa Nikkei Civic Association. He is especially involved in the Nikkei Civic Association sakura (cherry blossom) events. Every spring, he leads the annual “sakura safari,” pointing out the best blooming sakura trees in Wahiawä for delighted participants.

The installation and awards program concluded with a lively program of music and dances.

Outgoing president with UJSH Member of the Year awardees Seichi and Fusayo “Fussy” Nagai.
Outgoing president with UJSH Member of the Year awardees Seichi and Fusayo “Fussy” Nagai.

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