Hawaii Fukuoka Kenjin Kai members spent a part of their Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 5) at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, enjoying the organization’s annual general membership meeting and shinnen enkai. Special guests included former Hawai‘i Gov. George Ariyoshi and Consul General of Japan Yasushi Misawa and his wife Yoko.
Gov. Ariyoshi installed the 2017 officers. They are: Fusayo “Fussy” Nagai, who was re-elected president; vice presidents Kendrick Settsu, Keith Sakuda and Satoko “Nikki” Thompson; treasurer Myles Nomura; assistant treasurers Dennis Kinoshita Jr. and John Anbe; secretary Jeannie Fujii; assistant secretaries Jennifer Kumamoto and Shari Teruya; auditors Shane Kumamoto, Laura Jean Noda and Lenny Yajima; and counselors Ko Isayama, Bertrand Kobayashi and Ray Sekiya.
Ariyoshi, who just returned that morning from a trip to Japan, said the success of the kenjinkai is incumbent on everyone’s involvement — officers and members. “The leaders alone cannot do it,” he stressed. While in Japan, Ariyoshi said he met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who said he feels strongly about the relations between the United States and Japan and anticipated meeting with America’s new president, Donald Trump.
The father-and-son team of Brandon (dad) and Niccolo (son) Hayashi reported on their “Short Stay” visit to Fukuoka and the opportunity to make new friends with people from other countries whose ancestral roots are in Fukuoka and to learn about each other’s cultural heritage.
One of the highlights of the program was the recognition of the Hawaii Fukuoka Kenjin Kai’s elders. This year, they included 80-year-olds Daisy Aiko Misaka and Richard Yasuwo Yasukochi; and 88-year-olds Dr. Satoru Izutsu and Kayako Kunimoto. Also honored was genki (healthy) 101-year-old Kusuo Tada, who drove his own car until he was 100 years old and who still travels to Japan by himself. Unable to attend the event were 88-year-olds Dorothy Nobuye Fujimoto, Herbert Kaname Murayama and Fumiko Taniguchi; 95-year-old Iwao Yokooji; 100-year old Yaeko Kobayashi; and 101-year-old Haruko Nomura. Consul General Misawa presented each honoree with a certificate of congratulations and a gift from the Fukuoka Prefectural Government.
President Fussy Nagai presented the kenjinkai’s Lifetime Achievement Award to past president Bertrand Kobayashi. She recognized the six years Kobayashi served as HFKK’s president, his work in supporting and promoting relations between Fukuoka Prefecture and Hawai‘i and his strong dedication to the mission of the Hawaii Fukuoka Kenjin Kai.
The day ended with a lively Hakata Iwaimedeta and Hakata Te-Ippon hand-clapping led by co-emcee Tomoko Kumagai and Nikki Thompson.