The Hawaii United Okinawa Association presented its “Legacy Award” to five individuals for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the Okinawan community. The luncheon program was held Nov. 12 in the Coral Ballroom of the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Honored were: Gov. David Ige, Hawai‘i’s first governor of Okinawan ancestry; Military Intelligence Service veterans Shinye Gima and Herbert Yanamura, both of whom served in Okinawa during the Battle of Okinawa; ‘ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro and Sun Noodle founder Hidehito Uki.
Each honoree was recognized with a video on their accomplishments that had been produced by HUOA’s video crew and a musical or cultural performance. Gov. Ige and Jake Shimabukuro teamed up and played “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” together on the ‘ukulele — the governor did the strumming and Jake gave the song his artistic flair. Jake also performed with his mother Carol, who sang “Bashofu,” and brother Bruce, who played the guitar. Shinyei Gima’s niece, Jimpu Kai USA student Charlene Gima, performed the Okinawan dance, “Hatuma Bushi,” to music by Ryukyu Koten Ongaku Afuso Ryu Gensei Kai. The Afuso Ryu group, led by Grant “Sandaa” Murata, also performed the celebratory song, “Medetai Bushi.” Herbert Yanamura’s nieces, Stacie and Laurie Shimabukuro, honored their uncle with a violin rendition of “The Prayer,” and Hidehito Uki was honored with a lively performance by the Chinagu Eisa group.
The events concluded with a lively kachashi with all of the honorees invited back to the stage to participate.
The 2017 Legacy Award honorees were the 10th group recognized since HUOA created the award. The banquet, which also featured a silent auction, was co-chaired by Jo Ige (no relation to Gov. Ige) and Stephanie Katayama.