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Japan-America Society of Hawaii
1600 Kapiolani Blvd Suite 204
Honolulu, Hawaii 96814
Phone (808) 524-4450
Fax (808) 524-4451
Office hours:
M-F, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship

Ehime Maru Memorial Association

The National Association of Japan-America Societies


. :   Japan-America Society of Hawaii Holds Fall 2015 McInerny Foundation’s Japan Day

Students enjoy the taiko demonstration during the Opening Ceremony

The Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) was pleased to hold its bi-annual Japan Day, sponsored by the McInerny Foundation on October 29, 2015. The program, now in its 22nd year, is the Society’s longest running educational program. One hundred and seventy-six students representing Hui Malama Learning Center on Maui, James Campbell High School, Kamehameha School, and Mililani High School gathered together at Pacific Beach Hotel for a half-day program of Japanese cultural activities. Over 30 volunteer experts presented cultural classes on bon dance, calligraphy, ikebana (flower arranging), kimono/yukata wear, origami, soroban (Japanese abacus), and bontemae tea ceremony.

The morning started off with an Opening Ceremony in the Mauka Ballroom led by JASH President Ms. Lenny Yajima and Pacific Beach Hotel General Manager Mr. Rob Robinson welcoming the students to Japan Day. Mr. Kenny Endo, musician and taiko master, invigorated the audience with a taiko performance with members of the Taiko Center of the Pacific followed by a detailed explanation of taiko. The students then proceeded to their various activities. Each student had the opportunity to participate in four different cultural sessions throughout the morning.

Students try their hand at soroban

Comments made by the teachers included, "Thank you so much for this wonderful cultural event!" The timing was perfect as "Culture Day" at Kamehameha Schools is next week. It was all well organized and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience," and, "All of the students had a great time. Thank you for coordinating and giving our students this experience. It made me so happy to see them enjoying themselves and coming out of their shells to learn new things."

(L-R): Students create origami ghosts; Students learn the art of ikebana; Students partake in a bontemae tea ceremony; Students learn to write calligraphy.

To date, over 5,600 students from 57 different schools have experienced Japan Day. This unique program is one of two programs offered by JASH to Hawaii’s high school students, with the other being the Japan Wizards Statewide Academic Team Competition. Japan Day provides students with hands-on experience in traditional Japanese arts and culture while reinforcing and complementing what is taught in the classroom. Japan Day also illustrates how art and culture in different societies can influence and enhance people’s lives, and how these cultural values are perpetuated by devotees of the arts. Through understanding and respecting different cultures and customs, we continue to bridge the gap that leads to friendship and cultural appreciation.

JASH would like to thank all the volunteer experts for their dedication to the program, for without them, this program would not be possible: Ms. Betty Dela Cuesta and members of Hawaii Shin Kobukai; calligraphy master Mrs. Setsuko Tokumine, her assistant Joyce Wong and Mr. Stanley Hashiro; Mrs. Jessie Nakata and her daughter Dawn Kanno of MOA Hawaii; Mrs. Jean Sakihara and members of Kimono Project USA; Ms. Ashley Nishihara of Hawaii Origami Club; Mr. and Mrs. Hideaki Oshima from Araki Hiroya Soroban School; and Mr. Yasuo Kikuchi and members of MOA Hawaii. We would also like to thank Pacific Beach Hotel for the generous use of their facilities, and Kenny Endo and the Taiko Center of the Pacific for their inspirational taiko performance and demonstration. Please visit the JASH Facebook page for more photos of the event. For more information on this educational program, please contact Elizabeth Stanton-Barrera at 524-4450 or via email at



. :   JASH 39th Annual Dinner held at Hilton Hawaiian Village on September 24, 2015

Governor David Ige delivers Keynote Speech

Orange and green—the colors of Ehime Prefecture—set a festive theme for JASH’s 39th Annual Dinner at the Hilton Hawaiian Village’s Coral Ballroom on September 24, 2015. A gathering of nearly 500 guests filled the ballroom including the Honorable David Ige, who delivered the keynote speech, as well as other distinguished dignitaries: Former Hawaii Governor George Ariyoshi; Japan’s Consul General in Honolulu, Yasushi Misawa; Consul General of Australia in Honolulu, Jeff Robinson; Consul General of the Republic of Korea, Walter Paik; and Director General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center, Wallace Chow.

(from Left to Right): Brigadier General Kevin Schneider, JASH President Lenny Yajima, Ms. Karen Ward, and Rear Admiral Patrick Piercey

This year, JASH presented two Bridge Awards; one to Mr. Kenneth Saiki, Director of the Ehime Maru Memorial Association, and one to the United Japanese Society of Hawaii (UJSH). The President of UJSH, Mr. Cyrus Tamashiro, received the award on behalf of the Society. For her fifth year, Lara Yamada from KITV returned to emcee the evening.

Mr. Kenneth Saiki was honored for his extraordinary devotion and support of Ehime following the unfortunate accident of the Ehime Maru in 2001. He helped organize resources and provided support for bereaved families and led a community-wide effort to raise funds for the victims’ families. Since then, Ken has dedicated time and effort in order to care for the Ehime Maru Memorial in its regular maintenance. JASH has recognized Ken’s incredible contributions to U.S.-Japan relations and hopes for his continued support.

The United Japanese Society of Hawaii was honored for its vital assistance in the aftermath of the incident. They organized a meeting with the bereaved families to present them with funds they had raised in addition to giving them sympathies from the people of Hawaii. Today, UJSH continues to assist with the care of the Ehime Maru Memorial and mikan trees at Kakaako Waterfront Park and strengthens Hawaii-Japan relations through their extensive outreaches and events.

Keynote speaker, Governor David Ige began his speech with a thoughtful story about the beginning of his political career and the mentorship of former governor George Ariyoshi. He went on to explain the importance of the U.S.-Japan relationship and the special position that Hawaii has in our alliance. He then thanked JASH for its role in promoting relations between Japan and Hawaii and urged JASH members to continue to be a society of global leaders and visionaries.

Again, JASH would like to thank its table sponsors, supporters, volunteers, and all those who attended. We would also like to thank the Hilton Hawaiian Village for continuing to host our event after many years. Photos from the event can be found at Artistic Mindz Photography, courtesy of Tony Grillo, and on the Star Advertiser’s Photo Gallery.

(L): The crowd gathers before the program begins | (R): From Left to Right: APCC Delegate Landon K., Mr. Kenneth T. Saiki, Director, Ehime Maru Memorial Society, Mrs. Kumiko Saiki, and APCC Delegate Gia M. pose before the delegates take Mr. & Mrs. Saiki to the VIP Reception

Mr. Cyrus Tamashiro, President of United Japanese Society of Hawaii, accepts the Bridge Award with his acknowledgements

Guests clink glasses during the kanpai with cups of sake donated by The Cherry Company

Event Sponsors can be seen below:



. :   JASH brought Soroban in the Schools to Kawananakoa Middle School and Niu Valley Middle School during the 2014 – 2015 school year

Students at Niu Valley Middle School show off their soroban skills to Representative Mark Hashem

During the 2014 – 2015 school year, JASH brought soroban, the Japanese abacus, instruction to two middle schools on Oahu: Kawananakoa Middle School and Niu Valley Middle School. 32 students participated in the afterschool program at Niu Valley MS, while 15 students participated in the afterschool classes offered at Kawananakoa MS.

The key to teaching soroban is to have a good teacher and motivated students. JASH contracted with a local well-known soroban teacher, Mr. Hideaki Oshima of the Araki-Hiroya Soroban School. His students have won major competition prizes in Japan and have received admissions and scholarships to universities including MIT and Princeton. Mr. Oshima also supports our Japan Day for high school students, which provides opportunities for high school students to have hands-on experiences with Japanese culture. His soroban classes at Japan Day always receive positive feedback.

At the conclusion of the yearlong pilot program, students filled out a survey. Here are some of their comments about their experiences with the soroban:

  • "I have been able to focus more because of soroban."
  • "I’ve been able to catch mistakes more often when working with decimals."
  • "It (Soroban) helps visualize the actual subtracting/addition better."
  • In response to the question, ‘Do you now view math as fun?’ one student responded, "I think it depends on how the math is taught, so the soroban classes made math more fun." In addition, that particular student went on to say, "It was cool to learn more about my culture."

One parent wrote, "I truly believe his (Mr. Oshima’s) soroban classes are really helping Brandi build up her math skills. I’ve seen Brandi become more confident in handling her math studies." The Principal at Niu Valley MS, which is an International Baccalaureate World School, Sean Tajima wrote in support of the program, "This opportunity connected their (students) cultural knowledge to their skills in mathematics."

On May 8, 2015, Representative Mark Hashem attended the after school soroban class at Niu Valley MS (a school in his district) and observed the students and Mr. Oshima’s teaching practices. Representative Hashem was impressed by what he saw – the students were able to calculate long math problems quickly and accurately. He asked Mr. Oshima at what age should students begin to learn soroban. Mr. Oshima said that at age seven, or first grade, is the best time to begin learning soroban. With that information, Representative Hashem then contacted the principal at one of the elementary schools in his district, Aina Haina School to see if there is interest in bringing soroban to the 1st grade classes there for a pilot program during the school year 2016-2017. JASH is hoping to partner with Representative Mark Hashem’s office to provide soroban in the elementary schools in the future.



. :   Japan-in-a-Suitcase Visits King Kamehameha III Elementary in Lahaina

On August 27, 2015, second graders at King Kamehameha III Elementary School in Lahaina, Maui were treated to a presentation of the Japan in a Suitcase (JIAS) program thanks to a grant given by the Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation. Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) staff member Elizabeth Barrera and JIAS volunteer Becky Ebisu spent the day in Lahaina sharing JIAS with the second graders in the school, for a total of 136 students.

JIAS Volunteer Becky Ebisu teaches the students the lyrics to the song Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in Japanese.

In addition to sharing the presentation with the students, Elizabeth and Becky trained a new volunteer, Kiyomi Abut, who will now be our Japan in a Suitcase volunteer for the island of Maui. Ms. Abut is originally from Japan and now lives and works in Lahaina with her husband. She has two young children (one of which is a second grader at King Kamehameha III School) and is excited to be able to share the JIAS program with children on Maui.

Volunteer Becky Ebisu with new JIAS Volunteer Kiyomi Abut at King Kamehameha III School in Lahaina.

King Kamehameha III Elementary School recently celebrated its centennial and currently serves about 700 students in grades K – 5. When the JIAS program presenters came to the classrooms, the interest level of the students was high and children were excited to see the presenters sharing items about Japan and Japanese school life. As one teacher wrote in her evaluation, "I believe this program helped the students understand that cultures around the world are different." Throughout the presentations, the students were encouraged to spot differences in the way Japanese children do things and the way they do things and were reminded that different does not equal wrong.

Students learn how to sit and stand in Japanese.

JIAS is a free program offered to elementary schools in Hawaii. It is one of five JASH educational programs aimed at teaching the concept of different perspectives and is aligned with the Hawaii Department of Education Content Standards for Social Studies and World Languages. The major goal of JIAS is to nurture students' sense of inquisitiveness and help them to look at objects and issues from different viewpoints. This is accomplished through a hands-on demonstration of items used by children at schools in Japan. JASH believes teaching these concepts at an early age will make them more open-minded to new ideas and people of other cultures. The secondary purpose of JIAS is to teach children about Japan's unique culture and to appreciate Hawaii's special relationships with Japan. The young students at King Kamehameha III Elementary now understand this rich cultural relationship first hand.



. :   Summer of 2015 Intern Reflections

Summer Intern Naomi

Working at JASH during the summer as an intern has been an amazing experience. I was not only able to see how a non-profit organization is run, but also how strong the relations between Japan and Hawaii are.

Mainly working with the Educational Programs Director, I was able to see first-hand how JASH is able to connect with students of all ages with programs such as Japan in a Suitcase, Japan Day, the TOMODACHI- Aloha Leadership Program and the Japan Wizards Academic Team Competition. I also was able to get a glimpse of JASH’s contribution to the community when I continued my sister’s work of the digital documentation of the photo archive. My favorite part of the day though was being able to meet and greet the visitors who stopped by the office. It was incredible being able to meet all of them and learn how they contributed to Hawaii-Japan relations. One of the most memorable experiences I had during my work with JASH was being able to visit the Ehime Memorial to meet navy and marine officers from the Japan Self-Defense Force. Such an event reminded me of not only how extensive JASH’s ties were, but the importance of JASH to continue to build bridges between Japan and Hawaii.

As a former Japan Wizards Competition winner; I am forever grateful to JASH and everybody who made the competition and trip possible. I’d like to thank the wonderful staff for giving me this opportunity to give back to JASH and continue to learn more about Japan-America relations.

Summer Intern Landon

Iolani Senior Landon Sur served as our JASH Intern during the month of August 2015. He helped Educational Program Director Liz Barrera to prepare for the educational programs that will take place throughout the school year 2015-2016.

Summer Intern Mari

First, I would like to thank all the JASH (Japan-America Society of Hawaii) staff members for welcoming me with open arms. On the first day I started my internship with JASH, I felt right at home with everyone’s kind words and warm smiles. I really appreciated all the help and leadership everyone brought to the table at JASH; they really work as one team which inspired me to also take part in their projects. Being an outsider and having the advantage of taking a step-back and seeing JASH thrive as a unit, really allowed me to value the vigorous and passionate effort they put into creating and organizing events for our local community. Although I was only able to attend one event during my internship, Beer Garden Event at Buho Cocina y Cantina, I could see how JASH was able to reach out to a variety of public audiences to shine light on the U.S. – Japan Relationship.

Secondly, I would like to personally thank Lenny Yajima for taking me under her wing and showing me the ins-and-outs of running an amazing non-profit organization in Hawaii. Working as an intern to many others may be tedious and sometimes "boring" but for me, I gained so much experience and knowledge I did not have time to be bored. Lenny kept me on my toes, and always shared her deep and extensive knowledge about JASH. It was an honor working directly under her, and I really appreciate the knowledge and connections I gained through this internship.

Lastly, I wanted to reach out to other students who are looking for an internship in Hawaii. If you have some type of interest or are curious about non-profit organizations and how much determination and passion it takes, then please reach out to JASH. They are an amazing group of individuals and you will not only learn incredible things, but also create amazing connections with various people on Oahu. If you’re passionate, hardworking, and have a thirst for learning… then JASH is the place for you.

Thank you to the board of directors, the staff members, and everyone who continues their amazing support of JASH and its efforts in "promoting understanding and friendship between the peoples of Japan and the United States through the special and unique perspective of Hawaii." That’s the JASH mission statement.



. :   Impressions from a Recent Trip to Buzen, Fukuoka

In a conversation on July 20, 2015, Former Governor Ariyoshi and Mrs. Ariyoshi discussed their recent visit to Buzen, Fukuoka, home of his father’s birthplace. In celebration of Buzen’s 60th anniversary, neatly coinciding with the Ariyoshi’s own 60th wedding anniversary, the Governor, Mrs. Ariyoshi and their eldest son, Ryozo not only ceremonially planted sixty dogwood trees along the main boulevard of the city, but also enjoyed exchanges with the city’s community.

Their first visit to Buzen took place in 1975 during the city’s 20th anniversary. On this visit, forty years later, Governor Ariyoshi went to the Mikikado, the elementary school his father had attended. Reflecting upon the city of Buzen, he mentioned how he was particularly struck by three things:

  • Mountains, green and open spaces
  • The impressive flow of the waters from the mountains
  • The abundance of fresh seafood as the city is right on the coast

Moreover, he found the people of Buzen to be friendly. This caused him to recall the first Japanese he had ever met in the country of his ancestry when he went to Japan as a member of the U.S. occupation force – a seven-year-old shoeshine boy. He had asked the boy why he was shining shoes to which the youngster resolutely replied that his country was hurting, his family was hurting and that he had to shine shoes to help his country and his family. Governor Ariyoshi then brought some bread to the boy who said he will take it home to eat it with Mariko. When the Governor inquired as to whom Mariko was, the boy explained she was his three-year-old sister.

It seemed to those of us listening to Governor Ariyoshi recount this encounter that he is proud of the Japanese people, most notably for demonstrations of discipline and selflessness such as this. He went on to stress the U.S. – Japan relations as the most important bilateral relationship in the world.

Governor Ariyoshi still contributes to this relationship. He believes national policies are worked out between national leaders, but that this requires the support of the peoples of both countries. He therefore supports sister-state relations and all other people to people activities. He travels frequently and makes numerous speeches here and there. This is a natural extension of his past appointment to the Advisory Council for Trade Policies and Negotiation by President Clinton, and his appointment to the Center for Global Partnership by the Japanese Government.

Governor & Mrs. Ariyoshi were equally delighted to talk about their experiences with members of the Imperial Family in Tokyo on this trip. Governor Ariyoshi explained that the normal protocol with guests in audience with Their Imperial Majesties, The Emperor and Empress of Japan is a period of twenty minutes, but their visit lasted over one hour. Mrs. Ariyoshi was also refreshingly surprised when the Empress’ hospitality consisted of coffee and both matcha and hojicha tea accompanied by elegant wagashi each decorated with an iris flower to match the garden of iris flowers near their meeting room. She will never forget the two hugs the Empress gave her as they said goodbye.

Their past experience of meeting the Imperial Family was no less outstanding. We were shown a magnificent photo of Governor Ariyoshi in formal attire with decorations at the coronation ceremony of His Majesty, The Emperor of Japan. Of the 2,500 attendees at the Coronation, 2,000 were Japanese guests and Governor Ariyoshi was one of the 500 foreign guests in attendance. But despite all these special and unique life experiences, he remains a modest and humble gentleman in the finest sense. Towards the end of our meeting, Governor Ariyoshi emphasized that one ought to always remember what one’s parents teach, especially attributes related to good character such as perseverance, responsibility, honorable behavior and loyalty.

Pauline Chakmakjian, MA, Board of Directors, JASH

Visiting with Governor George Ariyoshi and Mrs. Jean Ariyoshi.



. :   JASH sends delegates to the Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention in Fukuoka

After six months of training and preparation, JASH sent delegates to Fukuoka, Japan to take part in the 27th Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention (APCC). Six Junior Ambassadors: Luke Cisneros, Landon Hung, Landon Kimura, Chloe Kwok, Gia Ma and Tierra Nakamura, along with Peace Ambassador Wesley Lum and volunteer chaperone Kevin Matsuda took part in the APCC, which was held from July 8 – 21, 2015.

Hawaii delegates to the APCC arrive in Fukuoka.

Hosted by the Fukuoka government, the APCC promotes international relationships between children so that they will become adults with a strong social responsibility for the world. In its 27th year, the APCC has hosted over 10,000 Junior Ambassadors with nearly 6,340 host families in Fukuoka. This year, the Hawaii delegates spent the first five days at an exchange camp with 230 children from 40 countries and cities throughout the Asia-Pacific region. They were fortunate to have roommates from Indonesia so communicating through hand gestures and games were a fun way to get to know each other.

Hawaii Junior Ambassadors with their roommates from Indonesia at Marine House Camp.

Following the exchange camp at Marine House Camp, the delegates attended a Welcome Party hosted by all of their Japanese host families, and then went home with their individual host families where they stayed for the next week. While with their host families, among other things, the children had a chance to attend school with their host siblings, visit a Japanese onsen, go camping, visit the Dazaifu Temple, attend the Yamakasa festival, venture into a natural cave, take part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, visit Kokura Castle, and eat lots of Japanese food. While the APCC delegates were busy with their activities, Hawaii’s Peace Ambassador Wesley Lum enjoyed reconnecting with the host family he had when he was a Junior Ambassador in 2009. Wesley also spent time sharing about Bridge Club Hawaii community service projects and experiences with the other Peace Ambassadors in attendance at the APCC.

Hawaii delegates played games with their host families at a Welcome Party on July 14th.

On July 18, the 230 delegates again reunited for the APCC "We Are the Bridge" cultural exchange festival held at the Fukuoka City Hall FUREAI PARK. There, the Hawaii delegates performed two oli (chants) and danced a hula to the song Ka Uluwehi O Ke Kai which they had learned from Makua Dori Kim, a Hawaiian studies teacher at Aina Haina Elementary School.

The students returned to Honolulu on July 21, excited to share what they had done on their trip. Delegates, parents and JASH staff met one last time at the JASH office on August 1 to discuss their experiences. JASH would like to thank all of the families and friends who helped to prepare the delegation for their trip.

JASH has been associated with the APCC since 2003, sending Hawaii’s 11-year olds to this global youth camp to expand their view of the world, create new friendships, and inspire them to better themselves and their community. JASH continues to promote this relationship by involving APCC alumni in programs and activities through the Bridge Club Hawaii.

If you know of anyone interested in taking part in the Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention in 2016, the application will be available online here in mid-November. Please contact Liz Stanton-Barrera, JASH Educational Program Director at for more information. The deadline to submit the application to the JASH office will be December 21, 2015. Applicants for the 2016 APCC will need to be born between September 1, 2004 and August 31, 2005 in order to apply. Read more about the APCC program and JASH by taking a look at our website. Further information on Bridge Club Hawaii can be found on its Facebook website at



. :   Nearly ten years later, JASH Sister School Relationships still going strong!

In 2006, the Society’s Sister School Relationship Program, made possible by a generous grant from the Freeman Foundation, was designed to establish long-term sister school relationships between middle schools in Hawaii, and junior high schools in Japan. Two sister school relationships were developed between Kawananakoa Middle School (Honolulu) and Uwajima Minami Junior High School (Ehime) AND Kapolei Middle School (Kapolei) and Kin Junior High School (Okinawa).

JASH was heavily involved during the first three years of the relationship. During the first year, a delegation of teachers and administrators from the Hawaii schools visited their counterparts in Japan and a reciprocal visit was done bringing a similar group from the Japanese schools to Hawaii. In this way, the teachers and administrators on both sides became familiar with each other, which we hoped would lead to a stronger relationship and better collaboration. At the conclusion of these visits and signing of agreements, the sister school relationship officially began.

During the second year, the Hawaii schools sent a delegation of 20 students for a week-long trip to Japan, followed by a reciprocal visit by Japanese students to Hawaii during the third year. Both the Hawaii and Japanese students spent a portion of their journey experiencing a home stay. JASH provided complete funding for the first three years, after which the schools promised to continue the relationship on their own.

Students from Uwajima Minami JHS learn how to play pogs at a JASH office visit on July 31.

This summer, JASH was contacted by Uwajima Minami JHS and Kapolei MS to ask if an office visit could be arranged. On Friday, July 31, a delegation of nearly 20 students and teachers visited JASH from Uwajima Minami JHS. The following Monday, August 3, another delegation of nearly 20 students and teachers from Kin JHS and Kapolei MS visited JASH to express their thanks and appreciation for establishing the Sister School Relationship nearly ten years ago. The leader with them, Mr. Jason Hamanaka, presented JASH President Lenny Yajima with a paddle recognizing the relationship between the two schools. He also informed Ms. Yajima that one week home stays are done every other year between Kin and Kapolei – eight students from Kin JHS come to Kapolei MS in August and later in the fall students from Kapolei MS visit Kin JHS. This is the fifth exchange that they have participated in since the program began in 2006.

Teachers from Kin JHS and Kapolei MS present JASH President Lenny Yajima with a paddle recognizing the relationship between the two schools.

When the Sister School Relationship Program was first developed, it was hoped that the relationships formed between the schools would last for many years to come. Learning that the Kapolei/Kin relationship is in its fifth year, all of us at JASH were so glad to know that we have planted the seeds for an ongoing U.S. – Japan relationship, and are building friendships between the students that will last a lifetime.



. :   Sheila Smith Talks at East West Center: Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China

The East-West Center Schramm Room was packed to the brim Thursday, July 24, 2015 for a talk from Dr. Sheila Smith, Japanese politics expert and author of the new book: Intimate Rivals: Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China. Prestigious guests including the Honorable George Ariyoshi came to hear her discuss the content of her recent book release.

Her lecture focused on the relationship between China and Japan and the constantly shifting political issues the two countries must resolve. Sheila Smith outlined four major areas of contention between both countries and explained what kinds of factors must be taken into consideration for overall risk reduction in the region. Her unique perspective brought into play the importance of popular perception of the citizens of Japan into this international issue.

Immediately after her talk, Sheila Smith was available to answer questions and sign copies of her book.

This event was sponsored by East-West Center, Japan-America Society of Hawaii, and Pacific Forum. Thank you East-West Center for providing the venue for this event.

To watch the talk Sheila Smith gave on her new release, please click here for a video uploaded by East West Center.

To see more photos from this event, please click here. These photos were taken and shared by East West Center.



. :   Emily, Summer 2015 JASH Intern

I had the wonderful opportunity to be an intern at JASH for two months this summer. Although my internship was short, I was able to learn a lot about JASH’s history, event planning, and what it takes to run a non-profit organization. I was also able to see how JASH continues to play a leading role in maintaining a strong relationship between Hawaii and Japan.

During my internship, I shadowed JASH’s Program Coordinator and worked on some of the projects she was in charge of. My first project was to assist her in building the new JASH website by uploading articles written about past events. I also began the process of scanning JASH’s photographs, starting from the year 1990. Both of these projects allowed me to peek into the past to learn about the organization’s history and how it came to be involved in the Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention, Crown-Prince Akihito Scholarship, and the Ehime Maru Memorial Association. I was also involved in sending out invitations for the upcoming Annual Dinner as well as planning for this year’s Holiday Gala. Working on these events gave me an appreciation for the hard work that goes into event planning.

I would like to thank JASH’s staff for graciously giving me this opportunity to learn from them. I was fortunate to have been mentored by a dedicated group of people and I thank them for their patience and support. Thank you to the board of directors, the staff members, and everyone who continues to support JASH in its efforts to promote U.S. – Japan relations.



. :   TOMODACHI – Aloha Leadership Program Delegates visit Tohoku, Japan

The Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) sent six students ranging in age from 12 – 22, along with chaperon Daniel Hwang, to the Tohoku region of Japan as part of the 2015 TOMODACHI – Aloha Leadership Program (TALP) from July 7 – 15, 2015. The purpose of the trip was to reconnect with participants of the Rainbow For Japan Kids Program (RFJK). The funding for this program came from a generous grant given by the TOMODACHI Initiative and another private donor. This was the third year in a row that Hawaii students have been able to travel to Tohoku to visit and reconnect with the friends made here in Hawaii who have participated in the RFJK program, which allows Japanese students affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami to travel to Hawaii for mental and physical recuperation in addition to learning about Hawaii’s culture.

This year’s TALP delegates had a jam-packed itinerary in Tohoku. In just one week, they visited Sendai, Matsushima, Ishinomaki peninsula and parts of Fukushima prefecture. The first day was spent in Sendai where a dinner was held and representatives from the TOMODACHI Initiative were able to attend. Following that, the group spent four days traveling around the Ishinomaki peninsula – where delegate Shayna Kim commented that, "there was no one to see for miles," as they drove down to Oshika village. The TALP delegation was one of the first foreign groups to visit the village since the tsunami hit four years ago. The delegates visited Oshika Middle School and were humbled to see how the community has come together in the aftermath of the disaster. The people of the area have created a dance called the "sanma de samba" to lift the spirits of the people. The TALP delegates were given a special presentation of the dance, and even learned the basic steps. As one of the delegates, Sarah Tamashiro said, "I’ve never seen a community come together like that before. It was amazing to see how much the people have anchored themselves and are moving forward."

TALP Delegates reunite with RFJK students in Onagawa.

While in Ishinomaki, the delegates also visited a small fishing village in Onagawa where they met fisherman and learned about their way of life; Asahigaoka temporary housing where they shared the "Aloha Spirit" with the residents by performing a hula, Ulupalakua. Following that, they departed to Minamisanriku where they helped the Sea Monkeys group clean Tsunagari beach of debris still left over from the tsunami.

Japanese volunteers of the Sea Monkey Project gather with Hawaii delegates for beach cleanup at Minami-Sanriku.

The group next headed towards Fukushima prefecture. They first visited Shinchi town, where they were given a chance to talk story with some of the elderly residents living in the temporary housing facility and teach them the steps to Ulupalakua. Following that, they ventured further south to Iwaki city, where they met many of the 9th RFJK students that will be coming to Hawaii later this July.

Hawaii delegates meet residents at the Shinchi Temporary Housing.

Their final days in Japan were spent in Matsushima and Sendai city where RFJK members from around the region gathered together for a final reunion party for the TALP delegation the night before they departed back to Honolulu.

No matter where they visited in Japan, the TALP delegates were greeted with open arms, warm smiles and positive attitudes by everyone they met. The chance to reconnect with the RFJK participants, see the areas where they are from, and learn and understand more about what they have gone through in the past four years has impacted the delegates from Hawaii in ways that they may not even yet understand. Delegates were not only touched, but also inspired by the strength these Japanese kids have shown in the face of life-changing adversities and expressed their need to appreciate and cherish the family, friends, and homes they usually take for granted.

JASH would like to thank the TOMODACHI Initiative and our other private donor for funding this once in a lifetime opportunity. JASH would also like to send a special Mahalo to Tsuyoshi Tsurumi, Atsushi Takebayashi and Hide Takahashi for taking the extra time to spend with the delegates before and during their trip to make the experience so much more enriching for all involved.



. :   JASH Junior Ambassadors depart for the 27th Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention in Fukuoka

APCC Delegates depart to Fukuoka, Japan (front row, l-r: Junior Ambassadors Luke Cisneros, Landon Kimura, Landon Hung, Gia Ma, Chloe Kwok and Tierra Nakamura; back row, l-r: Peace Ambassador Wesley Lum, Educational Program Director Liz Barrera, JASH President Lenny Yajima, chaperone Kevin Matsuda and Educational Assistant David Nakanishi)

The day finally arrived! After months of preparation, parents and children were both anxious and excited as the six Hawaii Junior Ambassadors (Luke Cisneros, Landon Hung, Landon Kimura, Chloe Kwok, Gia Ma and Tierra Nakamura) departed for the 27th Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention (APCC) in Fukuoka, Japan on Wednesday, July 8, 2015. They were accompanied by chaperone Kevin Matsuda and Peace Ambassador Wesley Lum. For most of the Junior Ambassadors (JAs) this is their first trip overseas. They will spend nearly two weeks in Fukuoka -- seven days with a host family and three days at camp with other 11-year olds from over 40 different countries.

Prior to their departure, the delegates appeared on local news stations with JASH President Lenny Yajima. On each show, Ms. Yajima shared information about JASH and the APCC and the Junior Ambassadors performed their hula to the song Ka Uluwehi O Ke Kai that they will be performing at the "We are the Bridge Festival" on July 18 in Fukuoka, Japan. Please click on the links to see the various news casts that they were featured on:
June 21 on KITV 4
June 22 on KHON 2 and
June 21 on Hawaii News Now.

On June 30, the delegates were also given the opportunity to meet with Governor David Ige in his Executive Chambers. For many of the JAs and their families this was the first time to meet the new governor. Governor Ige offered friendly advice to the JAs on what it means to be an ambassador and answered questions from the Ambassadors on topics ranging from food to politics.
The delegation will return to Honolulu on July 21st.

JASH Delegates to the APCC meet with Governor David Ige on June 30, 2015



. :   TOMODACHI – Aloha Leadership Program Delegates head to Tohoku

TALP Delegates at Honolulu International Airport: (back row, l – r: JASH Educational Assistant David Nakanishi, JASH Educational Director Liz Barrera, Sarah Tamashiro, chaperone Daniel Hwang, Malakai Shiraki, Logan Takeda, JASH President Lenny Yajima; front row, l – r: Seri Nakamura, Moana Ueda and Shayna Kim)

After one month of training workshops and other events, JASH sent six delegates (ages 12 – 22) and one volunteer chaperone, Daniel Hwang, to the Tohoku region as part of the TOMODACHI – Aloha Leadership Program (TALP) on July 7, 2015. The purpose of this trip is for the Hawaii delegates to reconnect with Japanese students who had participated (or will participate) in the Rainbow for Japan Kids (RFJK) program in Hawaii.

The RFJK program offers Japanese children—some of who were left homeless and even parent-less by the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011—a chance to relax and recuperate, in the hopes that they will bring fonder memories back to their homes. These memories are forged by one of the program’s primary goals, which is to create lasting friendships with Hawaii delegates through a two-day camp and outdoor activities that immerse Japanese kids in Hawaii’s natural beauty.

The Hawaii delegates will have the rare opportunity to visit RFJK alumni in their hometowns and strengthen the bonds of friendship formed in Hawaii. The planned itinerary includes visits to the following cities and villages in Tohoku: Sendai City, Onagawa, Minamisanriku, Iwaki City and Shinchi town. Hawaii delegates will also visit schools and towns that were destroyed by the tsunami and are in the process of rebuilding and will participate in some of the recovery efforts.

This program is partly funded by the U.S. Japan Council’s TOMODACHI Initiative. The TOMODACHI Initiative is a public-private partnership between the U.S.-Japan Council and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. Born out of support for Japan’s recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake, TOMODACHI invests in the next generation of Japanese and American leaders through educational and cultural exchanges as well as entrepreneurship and leadership programs.

TALP Delegates depart on Hawaiian Airlines to Sendai, Japan: (back row, l – r: Logan Takeda, Malakai Shiraki, Sarah Tamashiro and chaperone Daniel Hwang; front row, l-r: Shayna Kim, Seri Nakamura and Moana Ueda)



. :   TOMODACHI – Aloha Leadership Program Reunion Party

TOMODACHI Alumni and BCH members enjoy time to network and share their experiences.

On June 20, 2015, JASH partnered with the Bridge Club Hawaii (BCH) to create the first annual TOMODACHI – Aloha Leadership Program Reunion Party. About fourteen delegates from the 2013, 2014, and 2015 trips to Tohoku attended the potluck lunch at the JASH office. This inaugural party featured two guests: Giovanni Douresseau, a TOMODACHI Inouye Scholar from Los Angeles, California; and Atsushi Takebayashi, the founder of Move4Japan, from Honolulu. BCH members shared popular dishes with Mr. Douresseau to allow him to experience some of the local culture. Mr. Takebayashi generously shared some of his famous yakisoba, which he cooks for the people affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in the Tohoku region through his non-profit organization, Move4Japan.

Following a delicious meal, BCH members, Mr. Douresseau, and Mr. Takebayashi shared their personal experiences in Tohoku through their respective programs and the importance of volunteering in their communities. Mr. Douresseau gave a motivational speech to attendees to continue to do good work in order to build stronger connections and relations with Japan and the United States.

Later that afternoon, BCH members watched videos they had received from 2015 Rainbow for Japan Kids (RFJK) delegates in preparation for the 9th RFJK Camp in July. JASH staff then helped BCH members create their own videos to send back to RFJK delegates before their visit to Hawaii in July.

Both BCH and JASH would like to thank Mr. Douresseau for taking the time out of his schedule to meet with BCH members and to Mr. Takebayashi for preparing his delicious yakisoba for lunch.



. :   Kathryn Murata, Bachelor of Arts degree in Japanese Studies and a Minor in Politics from Willamette University

It has been an enlightening and rewarding experience interning and working part-time at the Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH). From beginning my internship with only knowledge of Japanese language and culture, I have grown to truly value the hard work and effort of the JASH staff and the events they organize in order to cater to a variety of public audiences and perpetuate the U.S.-Japan relationship.

Having spent just over a year with JASH, I was involved in many of their events, from membership events such as the Hilton 5:01 and Hinamatsuri to fundraisers such as JASH’s Annual Dinner and Golf Tournament. One of my first major tasks as an intern was to create a short video highlighting Annual Dinner honoree Hawaiian Airlines’ contributions to the U.S.-Japan relationship. My primary role, however, was to serve as the Educational Program Assistant, so I was deeply involved in programs such as Japan Day, the TOMODACHI-Aloha Leadership Program, Japan in a Suitcase, and JASH’s largest educational program, the JASH Japan Wizards Academic Team Competition. I was also given the responsibility of coordinating the Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention (APCC) Mission Project in Honolulu, Hawaii, where students from Fukuoka, Japan participated in a 5-day homestay with volunteer host families from around the island. Despite not knowing each other’s languages, both host families and Japanese students were able to communicate in different ways, and I had the pleasure of witnessing their relationships grow from awkward silences at the Welcome Ceremony to warm embraces and tearful goodbyes at the students’ departure. Participating in these programs and observing the impact these programs make on students and their families was especially gratifying. The cross-cultural relationships established by these programs transcend language barriers and are instead built upon the innately human relationships and emotions all people share.

I would like to thank my supervisors and the JASH staff and Board of Directors for giving me this extraordinary opportunity. I will cherish these experiences as I pursue my future career goals.



. :   JASH Holds Annual Hilton 5:01 and Beach Cleanup


(L) Hilton Hawaiian Village General Manager Tracy Walker welcomes JASH to the Rainbow Suite.
(R) APCC and TALP delegates pose for pictures outside.

On June 12, 2015, 120 JASH members and guests gathered at the Rainbow Suite in Hilton Hawaiian Village for JASH’s annual Hilton 5:01 hosted by Hilton Hawaiian Village.

The evening started out with welcome remarks from JASH President Lenny Yajima, Hilton Hawaiian Village General Manager Tracy Walker, and JASH Chair and recently appointed President of the Hawaii Coffee Company Mr. Daniel Dinell. 2015 Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention (APCC) Chaperone Kevin Matsuda briefly introduced this year’s APCC delegates, who treated the audience to a hula and chant they will perform while at the convention. Attendees also enjoyed delicious pupus and drinks provided by Hilton and also music performed by Puuhonua, led by singer Puu Tazhi.


Hilton 5:01 guests enjoy the evening's music entertainment and APCC performance
(R) APCC delegates perform chant.

Everyone is up bright and early for the clean up!

Following the Hilton 5:01, APCC delegates and their families along with participants from the Tomodachi-Aloha Leadership Program (TALP) woke up bright and early the next morning to clean Waikiki Beach. Equipped with trash bags, gloves, and nets, participants began the cleanup at Hilton lagoon and picked up rubbish all along the beach up until reaching the Duke Kahanamoku statue.

JASH would like to send a big mahalo to the Hilton Hawaiian Village for generously hosting the Hilton 5:01, and Ms. Tracy Walker for welcoming JASH to the Hilton. Mahalo also to Mr. Kevin Matsuda and the rest of the 2015 APCC delegation for such an impressive performance.

Hawaii 5:01 Programs are presented exclusively for Corporate, Board, and Lifetime members. The 5:01 provides an informal setting to meet new friends, renew acquaintances, and introduce potential members to the Society.




. :   Junior Ambassadors Bond in the Mountains of Camp Timberline

Since being selected as Junior Ambassadors (JAs) representing Hawaii in February 2015, the six JAs have been learning more about Japan and the other countries that will be sending delegates to the Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention in Fukuoka from July 10 – 22, 2015. Each month since being selected, they have attended a workshop at the JASH office which taught them a Japanese language lesson and some interesting cultural aspects about Japan. They have also practiced their hula performance that they will share in Fukuoka.

In addition to their regular monthly workshops, during the weekend of May 2 – 3, the six Junior Ambassadors and Peace Ambassador Wesley Lum took part in an overnight stay at Camp Timberline in Makakilo. They were accompanied by 2015 chaperone Kevin Matsuda, 2016 chaperone Dori Kim, JASH Educational Program Director Liz Stanton-Barrera and JASH Intern David Nakanishi. It was our first time at Camp Timberline (previous camping trips took place at Camp Erdman in Mokuleia) but this annual camping trip helps the JAs bond with one another through outdoor activities and team building exercises. While at the camp, the JAs participated in a "low ropes course" where they focused on building trust with one another. They also enjoyed hiking in the mountains, eating smores while sharing stories around a campfire, and practicing their hula performance. The experience helped the group connect together and better prepare them for their journey to Japan in July.


(L-R): Parents and family members drop off their children for overnight at Camp Timberline.; Chaperone Kevin Matsuda with the six Junior Ambassadors at the Camp Timberline low ropes course.



. :   Japan-America Society of Hawaii Holds Spring 2015 McInerny Foundation’s Japan Day

The Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) was pleased to hold its bi-annual Japan Day, sponsored by the McInerny Foundation on May 6, 2015. The program, now in its 22nd year, is the Society's longest running educational program. 130 students representing Hawaii Preparatory Academy, Island Pacific Academy, Kailua High School and Mid-Pacific Institute gathered together at Toho No Hikari Hawaii for a half-day program full of Japanese cultural activities. Over 30 volunteer experts presented cultural classes on bon dance, calligraphy, ikebana (flower arranging), kimono/yukata wear, origami, soroban (Japanese abacus), and tea ceremony. The morning started off with a Welcome Ceremony in the Social Hall led by JASH President Lenny Yajima and Toho No Hikari Administrator Jody Kanemaru welcoming the students to Japan Day. Members of the Taiko Center of the Pacific then invigorated the audience with their taiko performance and detailed explanation of taiko. The students then proceeded to their various activities. Each student had the opportunity to participate in four different cultural sessions throughout the morning. Comments made by the students included, "This Japan Day experience helped me further understand and appreciate Japan's culture and activities," and, "I liked the activities because I got to be out of my comfort zone and learn new things."


(L-R Clockwise): Students enjoy the taiko demonstration during the Welcome Ceremony; Beautiful yukata are donned by the students; Students partake in the tea ceremony; Students try their hand at soroban; Students learn the art of calligraphy; Volunteers teach the students how to bon dance.

To date, over 5,500 students from 56 different schools have experienced Japan Day. This unique program is one of two programs offered by JASH to Hawaii's high school students, with the other being the Japan Wizards Statewide Academic Team Competition. Japan Day provides students with hands-on experience with traditional Japanese arts and culture while reinforcing and complementing what is taught in the classroom setting. As one student commented, "Japan Day was interesting. We got a window into Japanese culture." Japan Day also illustrates how art and culture in different societies can influence and enhance people’s lives, and how these cultural values are perpetuated by devotees of the arts. Another student said, "This was a great hands-on experience to learn Japanese culture." Through understanding and respecting different cultures and customs, we continue to bridge the gap that leads to friendship and cultural appreciation.

JASH would like to thank all the volunteer experts for their dedication to the program, for without them, this program would not be possible: Ms. Betty Dela Cuesta and members of Hawaii Shin Kobukai; calligraphy master Mrs. Setsuko Tokumine, her assistant Ms. Joyce Wong and Mr. Stanley Hashiro; Mrs. Jessie Nakata and her daughter Ms. Dawn Kanno of MOA Hawaii; Mrs. Jean Sakihara and members of Kimono Project USA; Ms. Ashley Nishihara of Hawaii Origami Club; Mr. and Mrs. Hideaki Oshima from Araki Hiroya Soroban School; and Mr. Yoshibumi Ogawa and members of Urasenke Foundation. We would also like to thank Toho No Hikari Hawaii for the generous use of their facilities, and the Taiko Center of the Pacific for their inspirational taiko performance and demonstration. Please visit the JASH Facebook page for more photos of the event. For more information on this educational program, please contact Elizabeth Stanton-Barrera at 524-4450 or via email at



. :   JASH Holds 25th Annual Friendship Golf Classic at Hawaii Prince Golf Club


(L) JASH Staff members Liz Stanton-Barrera and Kathryn Murata showcase the special prizes to be awarded to Special Hole ticket drawing winners. (R) Deputy Consul General of Japan Koichi Maruyama presents the JASH trophy to 1st place winners Vaughn Hokama and Eddie Sim.

The 25th anniversary of JASH's Annual Friendship Golf Classic was held on April 22nd, 2015 at Hawaii Prince Golf Club in Ewa beach. Shochu donated from Kai Vodka was used for the JASH-traditional sake kanpai at noon, shortly followed by a taiko shotgun sendoff led by JASH Chair Daniel Dinell on taiko borrowed from Chinagu Eisa Hawaii.

During the award ceremony dinner, each participant received a door prize and teams with the top ten scores awarded prizes. The grand prize of a golf stay package at the Grand Wailea and Wailea Golf Course was awarded to 25th place team winners, Vic Angoco and Chris Redlew. The 1st place trophy was awarded to Vaughn Hokama and Eddie Sim. Guests got to enjoy a special 25th JASH Friendship Golf Anniversary cake from Liliha Bakery, donated by Golf Chair Alan Yamamoto.

JASH would like to thank our Tournament Sponsor Pacific Guardian Life for making this fundraiser a success this year. Thank you also to our other major sponsors, Titanium and Graphite sponsors, individual players, and many donors that supported our cause. Please click here for a comprehensive list of supporters of the tournament. A big MAHALO to the volunteers that helped bring the tournament together! Thank you to volunteer Ray Tabata for taking photos throughout the hot and sunny day.Thank you to the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu for their continued support of the tournament - and special thanks to Deputy Consul General of Japan Koichi Maruyama for presenting the trophy during our awards dinner.

We would also like to thank Kimo Kahoano for being a wonderful MC for our program, as well as facilitating the live auction briefly held during the awards dinner. His personality and great humor was a highlight of the evening. Finally, JASH gives a very special Mahalo to the 2015 Golf Chair Alan Yamamoto, who assisted throughout the preparation period of the tournament in soliciting for sponsors, teams and donations. Mahalo, Yama-san!



. :   Dr. Ikujiro Nonaka inspire Society at JASH Talks Presentation


Dr. Nonaka gives talk at the Pacific Club

On April 16, 2015, JASH members and local business leaders experienced an informative lecture by Dr. Ikujiro Nonaka, a sought–after international professor and speaker. Dr. Nonaka gave an inspiring presentation about how business strategies and operations could be reformed to maximize potential and efficiency. Along with his interactive slideshow, Dr. Nonaka included insightful anecdotes and examples such as the fractal organization used in 7-Eleven. He explained how 7-Eleven’s creative and effective management system results in proficient leaders and a productive company.

Following his lecture, Dr. Nonoka answered questions from the audience. Some of the questions addressed how listeners could implement Dr. Nonaka’s ideas into their own business policies.

At the conclusion of his lecture attendees proceeded to indulge in an exquisite dinner laid out by The Pacific Club. The second half of the event provided an opportunity for attendees to network with other local and international leaders. It was very motivating to see so many local leaders come together and continue to learn and improve their corporate strategies in order to better prepare their companies for the future.

We would like to thank Dr. Nonaka and his wife, Sachiko, for speaking at this event, and recognize The Pacific Club for their excellent venue and service.



. :   JASH Collaborates with 2 Young Professional Organizations for "Project Reach Out"

In February 2015, JASH invited two young professional organizations - Japan Exchange and Teaching Alumni Association Hawaii and the Sakura Hawaii Alumnae -- to participate in Project Reach Out (PRO), which is supported by a generous grant from The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership.

PRO enables JASH to collaborate with these young professional organizations that share an interest in strengthening U.S.-Japan ties. As collaborators, JETAA and SHA each receive:

  • Financial support for two networking or cultural events
  • Subsidized tickets for their members at JASH signature events (Annual Dinner, Holiday Gala, and New Year’s Reception)
  • Use of office and conference space (including computer use) in the JASH Office

"We are excited to partner with both organizations to deepen engagement and relevancy," said JASH President Lenny Yajima. "We hope this collaboration will generate interest by JETAA and SHA members in JASH’s activities."

The PRO grant also provides funding for engaging a community outreach liaison, creating a database of youth and young professionals who have participated in JASH programs, and revamping JASH’s social media presence.

JETAA Hawaii is a network of Hawaii residents who have participated in the Japan Exchange and Teaching program. JETAA prepares new JETs for their Japan assignments with a pre-departure orientation, events, and workshops. JETAA supports active JETs with information, materials, and ideas to assist them in their work and daily living.

SHA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that brings together former Hawaii Cherry Blossom Festival contestants who wish to advance and further the Japanese culture and heritage in Hawaii through mentorship and leadership in a variety of educational, social, community, and cultural events and projects.



. :   2015 APCC Mission Project Delegation Visit Hawaii

The 2015 Mission Project delegation and host families at the Welcome Ceremony.

Fifteen students and three chaperones comprised this year's Asian Pacific Children’s Convention (APCC) Mission Project delegation, visiting Honolulu, Hawaii from Wednesday, March 25 to Monday, March 30, 2015. Students from Japan were able to engage in the melting-pot culture and natural beauty of Hawaii through 15 volunteer host families. This is the fifth time the Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) has hosted a Mission Project delegation from Fukuoka. In addition to Hawaii, other Mission Project delegates from Fukuoka were sent to Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Korea, Maldives, Nepal, Palau, Sri Lanka, and Taiwan.

Established in 1994 by the APCC in Fukuoka, the goal of the Mission Project is to enhance Japanese children’s understanding of their Asian-Pacific neighbors by learning about their lifestyles, cultures, and customs through first-hand experiences. They do this by sending delegates to various Asian-Pacific countries. Here in Hawaii, students from ages 10 to 17 stayed with host families selected by JASH and were able to experience local culture, food, excursions to the beach, sightseeing, and many other fun activities. A highlight of the visit was the opportunity for Japanese students to attend school with their American host brothers or sisters. JASH would like to extend a warm mahalo to all of the principals of the hosting schools for opening their doors and classrooms and warmly welcoming the Japanese students.

Each summer, the APCC generously sponsors Hawaii’s Junior Ambassadors (JAs) for a global youth camp and home stay with host families in Fukuoka. JASH selects those JAs and spends six months preparing them for their trip to Fukuoka in July. The Mission Project allows JASH to reciprocate the hospitality that our own JAs experience in Japan.

JASH staff members greet the Hawaii delegation at the Honolulu International Airport.

JASH staff greeted the delegation on the morning of March 25th in the traditional Hawaiian style—giving lei to each delegate and chaperone—and escorted them to the Honolulu International Airport Conference Center, where delegates finally met their host families at the JASH sponsored Welcome Ceremony. Many of the delegates had been in contact with their host families a few weeks prior to arriving in Hawaii, so everyone was anxious to finally meet face to face. The Welcome Ceremony was a memorable first event, thanks especially to Deputy Consul General of Japan Koichi Maruyama who gave welcome remarks to the delegates.


(L) Sela Kimura and her host sister enjoy the icebreaker game at the Appreciation Party.
(R) Mission Project delegates strike a final pose to conclude their dance, Soran Bushi at the Appreciation Party.

JASH also sponsored an Appreciation Party for the host families and Japanese students at the Oahu Veterans Center on Friday, March 27th. In addition to the host families and delegates, about 20 members of Bridge Club Hawaii (APCC Alumni Association) and five of the 2015 JAs attended the party as well. It was an evening of good food and laughter as Japanese delegates shared their talents with the audience and Dori Kim, Shayna Kim, and Michelle Buck gave special hula performances. Speeches by the delegates as well as stories from host families were especially meaningful for everyone who attended. On the evening of March 29th, host families said their tearful goodbyes as they dropped off their host students to return to Japan the next day. In just five days, host families became second families to their host students, and this was evident through the smiles and warm hugs exchanged by the students and families on this final day.


Host families and delegates say their goodbyes at the hotel.

JASH President Lenny Yajima with JASH staff Elizabeth Stanton-Barrera and Kathryn Murata seeing off the delegation at the Honolulu International Airport.

JASH would like to extend and very huge "thank you" to the 15 host families for providing the visiting students from Fukuoka once-in-a-lifetime experiences they will cherish forever. This program would not have been possible without their generosity and warm aloha spirit. JASH would also like to thank APCC Program Director Elizabeth Stanton-Barrera and Mission Project Coordinator Kathryn Murata for all of their outstanding work in leading this program.



. :   Hitachi Chairman Visits Hawaii for Speaker Panel on JUMPSmart Maui

On March 19, 2015, Chairman Takashi Hatchoji joined us at a JASH Speaker Breakfast and Panel-Discussion with featured topic: "JUMPSmart Maui Initiative," which is currently taking place on the island of Maui. Chairman Hatchoji and the three expert-panelists spoke about the importance of this energy program and its ultimate goal of helping Hawaii become less dependent on fossil fuels.  Picture from Left to Right: Panelist Moderator Mr. Tab Bowers, Executive Vice President, American Savings Bank; Ms. Sharon Suzuki, President, Maui Electric Company (MECO); Ms. Jeanne Skog, President & CEO, Maui Economic Development Board; and Dr. Richard Rocheleau, Director, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Chairman Hatchoji’s presentation focused on the history and development of Hitachi as a global enterprise with the company's basic principles maintained by every employee of the company. The Japanese terms "Wa, Makoto, and Kaitaku-Seishin" translate in English to "Harmony, Sincerity, and Pioneering Spirit", respectively. These values have persevered with Hitachi as they have developed into a global leader of technology and IT services.

Following Chairman Hatchoji’s presentation, the program segued into a Panel-Discussion featuring Dr. Richard Rocheleau, Director, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute at the University of Hawaii at Manoa; Ms. Jeanne Skog, President and CEO, Maui Economic Development Board; and Ms. Sharon Suzuki, President, Maui Electric Company (MECO).

Ms. Suzuki explained that as the provider of electricity for the island of Maui, MECO viewed this project as an opportunity to develop a Smart Grid; a chance to improve solar panel and wind power integration into the energy system; and most importantly, and an opportunity to increase the sharing of information and involvement with the community in Maui.  The goal of the project is to increase clean energy usage to at least 70% by the year 2030. Ms. Skog continued to explain that the JUMPSmart Maui program has been involving the community, businesses, the private sector, and the government.  This cooperation and acknowledgement of each party’s strengths has been integral in the success of the project.

Finally, Dr. Richard Rocheleau spoke of the advantages of the Smart Grid project being on the island of Maui.  He explained that the island has solar and wind resources to make the projected-goals achievable in a way that mainland locations might have trouble doing.

It was wonderful to see the solidarity and confidence that all speakers had in the project and its goals.  They readily answered all questions directed to them from completely different companies and perspectives.  JASH would like to thank Chairman Hatchoji, Ms. Suzuki, Ms. Skog, and Dr. Rocheleau for participating in this panel discussion. Thank you also to NAJAS and Keizai Koho Center for providing JASH the opportunity to host this program.

Picture from Left to Right: Panelist Moderator Mr. Tab Bowers, Executive Vice President, American Savings Bank; Ms. Sharon Suzuki, President, Maui Electric Company (MECO); Ms. Jeanne Skog, President & CEO, Maui Economic Development Board; and Dr. Richard Rocheleau, Director, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.



. :   Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu Hosts Hinamatsuri for JASH Tomodachi Members

On Tuesday, March 3, Consul General Toyoei Shigeeda and Mrs. Michiko Shigeeda generously opened their doors to hold a Hinamatsuri Celebration in their official residence for JASH members and guests.

Hinamatsuri is a celebration for parents to wish for happiness and good health for daughters. Traditionally celebrated on March 3rd, Japanese dolls are arranged to contain bad spirits and save the owner from dangerous encounters.

Fujima Takamasa from the Fujima Takamasa Nihon Buyou Kenkyusho (The Institute of Japanese Dance Studies of Tokyo) performed for the guests with his crew, taking the time to explain different aspects of the Hinamatsuri kimono. Guests had many questions answered regarding the number of kimono layers, the evolution of the Japanese fan, and dressing habits of the aristocracy as early as the Heian Period.

Thank you once again to the Consulate General of Japan for hosting this much-anticipated occasion. JASH would also like to thank our Tomodachi volunteers for providing additional refreshments for this event. Thank you Fujima-san for the wonderful performance, and we hope to see you again in Hawaii soon.

Performance by Fujima Takamasa and his crew.



. :   Meet the 2015 JASH Junior Ambassadors to the APCC

2015 JASH Junior Ambassadors with chaperone Kevin Matsuda.

On February 7, a JASH selection committee selected six 11-year-old students (three boys and three girls) to represent Hawaii as JASH Junior Ambassadors (JAs) at the 27th Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention (APCC), which will be held in Fukuoka, Japan, from July 9 - 22, 2015. A total of 232 children from 45 countries and cities throughout the Asia-Pacific region have been invited to participate this year. The delegation will be led by JASH volunteer Kevin Matsuda, Executive Director of the Hawaii Council on Economic Education.

This year, JASH received a total of 40 applicants from Oahu’s private and public schools. After a day of interviews and group workshops held at the JASH office, the final six JAs were selected: Luke Cisneros (Aina Haina Elementary); Landon Hung (Maryknoll School); Landon Kimura (Moanalua Elementary); Chloe Kwok (St. Patrick School); Gianni Ma (University Laboratory School) and Tierra Nakamura (Pearl Ridge Elementary).

The students will spend one Saturday each month from now until July preparing for their trip to Fukuoka. The workshops are designed to develop teamwork skills and build students’ knowledge about Japan, Japan-Hawaii ties, cultural etiquette and the 44 other countries and cities that will be sending delegates to the Convention. Each delegation is required to give a cultural performance unique to that country or region. The Hawaii delegation will be performing a Hawaiian chant and hula at the Convention.

The first workshop was held at the JASH office on Saturday, February 28. The new Junior Ambassadors and their parents both attended and learned more about JASH, the APCC and their responsibilities as a JA. They also had a chance to meet the 2014 JAs and parents and hear about their experiences in the program last year. The two groups had the chance to get to know each other better after the workshop through a potluck arranged by the 2014 delegation.

The next workshop for the 2015 APCC Junior Ambassadors will be held on Saturday, March 28.



. :   Congratulations to the Winners of the 12th Annual JASH Japan Wizards Competition

Congratulations to the 129 students who represented 29 high schools on Oahu, Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai at the 12th Annual Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) Japan Wizards Statewide Academic Team Competition on Saturday, February 21, 2015 at Kapiolani Community College (KCC)! The 44 student teams were tested on their knowledge of Japanese art, culture and tradition, food, geography, history, Japan-Hawaii ties, literature, politics and government, sports, contemporary Japan, and of course the Japanese language. We are proud to announce the winners of this year's competition:

Level A 1st place: Punahou School
Level A 2nd place: Maui Preparatory Academy
Level A 3rd place: Mililani High School

Level B 1st place: Punahou School
Level B 2nd place: Baldwin High School
Level B 3rd place: St. Andrew's Priory

JASH President Lenny Yajima with JASH Chair Daniel Dinell, JASH Directors David Asanuma, Sal Miwa, and Howard Hamamoto, JTB Hawaii’s Akio Hoshino, and the winning teams

The Tateuchi Memorial Award for Outstanding Scholarship was awarded to the top scoring team in the competition, Punahou School (Level B team).

JASH awarded Japan trips to the top scoring public and private school teams in each level. We are proud to announce the Japan trip winners:

Level A: Mililani High School (public) and Punahou School (private)
Level B: Baldwin High School (public) and Punahou School (private)

These teams (three students and an advisor each) will travel to Japan this summer to experience firsthand what they studied in the classroom and through independent research. JASH will also arrange educational programs hosted by our colleagues in Japan: Japan-America Societies in Fukuoka, Hokkaido, Kitakyushu, and Tama Tokyo; Ehime Prefectural International Center, and Nagaoka International Exchange Association.

Between competition rounds, students were kept busy with the numerous activity stations in the Activity Center. These included calligraphy, gyotaku fish printing by Prior 2 Pupu Productions, karuta, origami by Hawaii Origami Club, a tea ceremony demonstration, and Jeopardy. HI Kendama performed and demonstrated various tricks and techniques involving the kendama, a traditional Japanese game that has gained popularity in Hawaii.

(L) Students enjoy a friendly game of fukuwarai, a game similar to Pin the Tail on the Donkey;
(R) Volunteers teach students how to play Japanese Bingo.

Thank you to the overall sponsor Hawaiian Airlines and other major supporters - ABC Stores, Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation, Freeman Foundation, Friends of Hawaii Charities, Hawaii Hotel Industry Foundation, JTB Hawaii, Temple University Japan, The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles - who make the competition one which high school students across the state look forward to each year.

JASH would also like to thank all the contributors who provided prizes, snacks, and other donations that assisted with the competition. Many thanks and recognition goes to the 76 volunteers representing the JET Alumni Association of Hawaii, UH Manoa, KCC, Hawaii Tokai International College, and American Savings Bank to name a few. Without this tremendous support, the competition would not have been possible. Finally, our gratitude goes to the President, Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, and staff of Kapiolani Community College for the generous use of their facilities and for their support of the JASH Japan Wizards Competition.



. :   January 21, 2015 Annual JASH New Year's Reception

On January 21, 2015, JASH members hit off the new year at the New Year’s Reception, held at the governor of Hawaii’s official residence, Washington Place. A maximum capacity crowd had the benefits of enjoying newly-elected Governor David Ige’s welcoming remarks and opportunity to meet the Governor and First Lady on a one-to-one basis.

Entertainment included festive performances of Okinawa-style lion dance by Hawaii Okinawa Creative Arts and taiko by Ryukyukoku Hawaii Matsuri Daiko. Thank you for the fun-filled performances! The Japanese traditional cask-breaking ceremony, kagamiwari, was performed by Governor Ige, Mayor Kirk Caldwell representative, Managing Director Mr. Roy Amemiya, Consul General Toyoei Shigeeda, JASH Chair Daniel Dinell, Mayor of Chigasaki, Mayor Nobuaki Hattori.

JASH extends its sincere appreciation to the event sponsor Stanford Carr Development LLC. Thank you for supporting this event year after year. Thanks also to Neiman Marcus’s Mariposa for catering, Kokusai Sake Kai for providing sake tasting, and The Cherry Company for kagamiwari donation. Thank you to Washington Place for hosting us again this year.



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