Follow JASH
on facebook

Follow Rainbow
for Japan Kids
on facebook

JASH home
Japan Earthquake Relief
About JASH
Educational Programs
How to Help
Calendar of Events
Corporate Members
Activities & Accomplishments
Form 990

Japan-America Society of Hawaii
P.O. Box 1412
Honolulu, Hawaii 96806-1412
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


. :   JASH Brings English Rakugo to Hawaii

Diane Kichijitsu performs English Rakugo at the University of Hawaii Manoa Orvis Auditorium.

So what is Rakugo? And in English? These thoughts were in the minds of the 100-plus audience that came to see Diane "Kichijitsu" Orrett perform at the University of Hawaii Manoa Orvis Auditorium on April 3rd. Diane Orrett, who calls herself Kichijitsu (or literally, Lucky Day in Japanese), is a comic storyteller in this 400-year old traditional Japanese art form. Popular in Japan, it is virtually unknown to the rest of the world. Diane, originally from England, has made her home in Osaka deciding to stay there after backpacking around the world and discovering this unique art that appealed to her. She's been performing Rakugo for over 20 years around the world to include Finland, Norway, Estonia and Dubai after being an understudy of the master Rakugo performer, Katsura Shijaku, the pioneer of Rakugo in English.

Rakugo is Japan's traditional version of the stand-up comic. But the performer stays seated on stage on a zabuton cushion, using two very simple implements, a folding fan (sensu) and a hankie (tenugui), and uses them to tell stories of every-day life assuming multiple characters. Rakugo literally means "falling (or tumbling) words" because at the end, there's always a verbal surprise, a punch line.

JASH teamed with the Japanese Consulate and the University of Hawaii Department of Theatre and Dance to bring this performance to its members and the community. JASH Director and President of Myland Hawaii Realty prepared snacks and refreshments for the audience in a pre-event setting at the Auditorium to turn this into a gala affair. JASH President Ed Hawkins introduced the event, explaining that JASH is about promoting understanding between U.S. and Japan, and this Rakugo performance fits perfectly. Deputy Consul General Kazunari Tanaka welcomed the crowd, and UH Manoa Center of Japanese Studies Director Dr. Mary McDonald gave closing comments. The crowd was treated to over an hour of an engaging performance, complete with the ochi, punch line. Diane even gave a history lesson of Rakugo and description of the performer's dress and props through audience participation. The event concluded with Diane's stories of her travels across the world, weaving her experiences and life's lessons which she shared. Then she engaged the audience in "laughter yoga," something she picked up in India, stressing laughter is good for the body and soul.

JASH would like to thank all the sponsors, supporters, and volunteers that made this event possible. Special thanks to UH Department of Theatre and Dance for providing the Orvis Auditorium, Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu for co-hosting and funding the stage support, and of course Diane "Kichijitsu" for providing the performance.



. :   JASH Holds Spring 2014 McInerny Foundation's Japan Day

Ninety-two students representing Castle High School, Kapolei High School, and Maui Preparatory Academy gathered at Hawaii Tokai International College for the Japan-America Society of Hawaii's (JASH) Spring 2014 Japan Day on March 28, sponsored by the McInerny Foundation. Over 35 volunteer experts presented cultural classes on bon dance, calligraphy, kimono/yukata wear, origami, soroban (Japanese abacus), and tea ceremony. Everyone was in for a treat as members of the Taiko Center of the Pacific led by taiko master Kenny Endo performed a few pieces. Students then proceeded to their cultural classes for this half-day program, which is now in its 21st year.

To date, nearly 5,400 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 with traditional Japanese arts and culture while reinforcing and complementing what is taught in the classroom setting. 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.

(L-R Clockwise): Students enjoy writing Japanese calligraphy; Hawaii Shin Kobukai members teach the students how to bon dance; Students experience wearing Japanese yukata; Mr. Hideaki Oshima makes learning math fun by using soroban!

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 teacher Mrs. Setsusen Tokumine and her volunteers; Mrs. Jean Sakihara and members of Kimono Project USA; Mr. and Mrs. Hideaki Oshima from Araki Hiroya Soroban School; Ms. Ashley Nishihara and members of the Hawaii Origami Club; and Mr. Yoshibumi Ogawa and members of Urasenke Foundation. We would also like to thank Hawaii Tokai International College for the generous use of their facilities, and the Taiko Center of the Pacific for inspiring the students with their 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 Kelsey Soma Turek at 524-4450 or via email at



. : Four High School Teams Earn Trips to Japan through the Japan Wizards Competition

This year, 135 students representing 24 schools from Oahu, Kauai, Hawaii, and Maui competed in the 11th annual Japan Wizards Statewide Academic Team Competition (JWC) held at Kapiolani Community College (KCC). This marks the third year that Hawaiian Airlines graciously served as overall sponsor.

JASH President Edwin Hawkins welcomed the high school students and thanked Hawaiian Airlines and other major supporters - ABC Stores, Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation, Friends of Hawaii Charities, Hawaii Hotel Industry Foundation, JTB Hawaii, The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles.

This year, 45 teams competed in two skill levels. The 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.

JASH President Ed Hawkins, JASH Chairman Dan Dinell, Hawaiian Airlines' Vicki Nakata, JTB Hawaii's Keiichi Tsujino and David Asunama, and JASH Director Jean Rolles pose with the four winning teams.

The top three scoring teams in each of two levels were awarded plaques. In Level A, these were Iolani School (1st place), King Kekaulike High School (2nd place), and Waiakea High School (3rd place). The Level B winners were Iolani School (1st place), Maryknoll School (2nd place), and Kalani High School (3rd place). The top scoring public and private school of each level were awarded trips to Japan. These teams (three students and an advisor) will travel to Japan this summer to experience firsthand what they studied in the classroom and through independent research. This year's Atsuhiko Tateuchi Memorial Award for Outstanding Scholarship went to overall top scoring team Iolani School, Level B.

(L) Students learn how to fold Origami with volunteers from the Hawaii Origami Club; (R) Volunteers teach students the Tea Ceremony.

Between competition rounds, students were kept busy with the numerous activity stations in the Activity Center. These included origami by the Hawaii Origami Club, calligraphy, gyotaku fish printing by Prior 2 Pupu Productions, karuta, a tea ceremony demonstration, and Jeopardy to name a few. The Ken Yu Kai Kendo Club provided a kendo demonstration to start the Activities.

This year, Temple University of Japan was a major sponsor, donating the Japan Wizards Competition t-shirts worn by all students, advisors, and volunteers. JASH would like to thank all the donors and supporters, including Kapiolani Community College for the generous use of their facilities.



. : JASH Holds Educational Exchange Symposium during Honolulu Festival

Ms. Kaori Seki, student from Bunkyo University in Chigasaki, Japan studying at the University of Hawaii gives witness to how the educational exchange program has affected her life. Mayor Mori of Nagaoka City (far left), Dr. Huey (center), and Dr. McDonald of the panel look on.

Recently JASH participated in a community symposium to raise awareness of the importance of educational exchanges for promoting country-to-country relations, focusing on the important U.S.-Japan relationship. The symposium, "Building Relations Through Educational Exchanges" was held at the Hawaii Convention Center as part of programs surrounding the annual Honolulu Festival held in March. This year was the special 20th Anniversary of the Festival and the organizers requested a symposium focusing on relations between Hawaii and Japan, to include Nagaoka City which for the third year in a row provided a spectacular fireworks display off Waikiki Beach.

JASH organized the symposium, inviting former Hawaii Governor George Ariyoshi as the keynote speaker, with presentations from Nagaoka City Mayor Tamio Mori, University of Hawaii's Dr. Robert Huey, Chair of the Department of East Asian Languages & Literature, and Dr. Mary McDonald, Director of the Center for Japanese Studies. Governor Ariyoshi stressed the importance of education and educational exchanges for laying the groundwork for future good will, Mayor Mori told the story of "Kome Hyappyo" hundred sacks of rice that stressed how community leaders in Nagaoka sacrificed the town's present well-being for the future of its people, and Drs. Huey and McDonald discussed how Hawaii and the U.S.-Japan relationship benefited from University of Hawaii's many educational opportunities for Japanese students and the numerous educational exchanges with schools in Japan. JASH President Ed Hawkins gave a presentation on a U.S.-Embassy endorsed strategic campaign to promote educational and cultural exchanges as a path to future cooperation, highlighting programs such as JASH-sponsored Asian-Pacific Children's Convention, Japan Wizards, the Rainbow for Japan Kids project and the U.S.-Japan Council led TOMODACHI Initiative. An audience of about 100 attended this important bilateral event.

Presentations are available on our website here: Dr. Mary McDonald, Mayor Tamio Mori, Ed Hawkins.



. :   Hinamatsuri Celebration at the Consulate General of Japan

(L) (l-r) JASH Director Ms. Betty Brow, Mrs. Michiko Shigeeda, and Tomodachi co-chair Mrs. Kazuko Love in front of the Consulate's hinaningyo display. (R) Guests enjoy an opera performance by Rev. Takamasa Yamamura.

On Thursday, February 27, Consul General Toyoei Shigeeda and Mrs. Michiko Shigeeda graciously opened their residence to the Japan-America Society of Hawaii's annual Tomodachi Hinamatsuri celebration in honor of Girl's Day. Hinamatsuri is traditionally celebrated on March 3rd by Japanese families in order to ensure their daughter's health and future happiness.

Tomodachi co-chair Kazuko Love shared with the guests some background about the seven-tiered hinaningyo doll display. It is believed that the dolls possess the power to contain bad spirits and protect the owner from harm. It is also believed that if the dolls are not put away on the night of Hinamatsuri, the family will have trouble marrying off their daughter.

Opera singer Takamasa Yamamura, along with piano accompaniment by Misa Ninomiya, performed a medley of opera songs. Of note was the collaboration on Tadashi Yanada's Jogashima no Ame (The Rain of Jogashima) with traditional Japanese dancer Segawa Senka who danced wearing an appropriate rain-colored kimono to match.

Following this special collaboration, guests were able to partake in special refreshments prepared by the Consul General's personal chef and donated by the Tomodachi Planning Committee members. The Japan-America Society of Hawaii would like to send a special Mahalo to Consul General and Mrs. Shigeeda for hosting this special event. We also send out our special thanks to Mrs. Shigeeda for giving opening remarks and being a wonderful hostess. Thank you again to our performers Takamasa Yamamura, Misa Ninomiya, and Segawa Senka.



. :   Pacific Fleet Commander invites JASH to Round Table

Admiral Harris welcomes JASH Directors and CPASF Trustees to his Headquarters.

Admiral Harry Harris, new Commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, recently invited members of the Japan-America Society of Hawaii Directors and Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship Foundation Trustees for a visit of his Pacific Fleet headquarters. Admiral Harris provided a military mission briefing of the Pacific Command "AOR" (Area of Responsibility) which extends from California to the West Coast of Africa, and his role as Commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet.

The Admiral, son of a Japanese mother and a Navy Chief Petty Officer, was recently honored by the Japanese American Citizens League for assuming four-star rank and being assigned as Commander of Pacific Fleet. Admiral Harris spoke about his recent visits to the region of his command, relating his engagements with Chinese, Russian, Korean, Japanese, and other military counterparts. Admiral Harris fielded questions, providing frank responses and assessments. The Admiral thanked JASH for the work it does in promoting U.S.-Japan relations, and how he looks forward to working with JASH for common causes.



. :   2014 APCC Junior Ambassadors Selected

The newly selected 2014 Junior Ambassadors with volunteer chaperone Makua Dori Kim.

JASH selected six 11-year old students (three boys and three girls) to represent Hawaii as Junior Ambassadors (JAs) at the 26th Asian-Pacific Children's Convention (APCC), which will be held in Fukuoka, Japan, from July 10- 24, 2014. Hosted by the Fukuoka based NPO by the same name and supported by the Fukuoka government, APCC promotes relationships between children from different countries with the goal of creating adults with a strong social responsibility for the world. A total of 230 children from 45 countries and cities throughout the Asia-Pacific region have been invited to participate this year. Hawaii is one of two cities in the U.S. that will send a delegation. The students will travel to Japan with a JASH volunteer chaperone. The students will also participate in home stays with host Japanese families.

This year, JASH received a total of 31 applications from Oahu and Hawaii. After a day of interviews and group workshops, the final six JAs were selected: Chelley Endo (Aina Haina School), Kalaokahikina "Kala" Handa (Kainalu Elementary), Diesel Kawelo (Island Pacific Academy), Malia "Sunny" Monaco (Aina Haina School), Misa Muranaka (Iolani School), and Andrew-Lee Smith (Aina Haina School).

The students will spend one Saturday each month preparing for their trip to Fukuoka. The required workshops are designed to develop teamwork skills and build students' knowledge about Japan, Hawaii-Japan ties, cultural etiquette, and other countries 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 hula to the song Waikiki Hula, taught by their chaperone, Makua Dori Kim. All travel and workshop costs for this program are borne by APCC and JASH.



. :   New Year's Reception

JASH members and guests toast to a prosperous new year.

Starting the New Year at historic Washington Place was welcome news to JASH members and guests. Over 200 attended the sold out reception. Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie invited the guests to his "official" home, calling attention to the many programs and services JASH provides to the community, including schools and children, in accomplishing its mission of promoting understanding and friendship between the people of U.S. and Japan with the special perspective of Hawaii. Gourmet food catered by Neiman Marcus with beer donated by Aloha Beer provided perfect complement to the stately mansion as backdrop for starting the New Year on a high note. International Sake Association (Kokusai Sake Kai) gave private tastings of sake from the 2013 National Sake Tasting event.

JASH Chair Dan Dinell, Consul General Toyoei Shigeeda, Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Harry Harris, and Governor Neil Abercrombie perform the Kagamiwari.

Sponsor Stanford Carr welcomed the guests noting it was the eighth straight year he has sponsored the event, and he looks forward to many more. New JASH Chair Daniel Dinell of Hilton Grand Vacations gave his own New Year greetings, pledging to continue with the Society's mission and programs, and quoting from a student whose life was transformed by JASH. Later, Chair Dinell joined Governor Abercrombie, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, new Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Harry Harris, and Japanese Consul General Toyoei Shigeeda in the traditional breaking of the sake cask, kagamiwari ceremony. Consul General Shigeeda offered the sake toast, pointing to JASH's past accomplishments to include the relief support provided to victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, and pledging future collaboration. Sake and implements were donated by Mr. Teru Kishii and The Cherry Company

Guests enjoy traditional Okinawan shishimai lion dance.

JASH would like to thank Stanford Carr, other supporters and donors, and the many volunteers who assisted with the reception. More photos available on the JASH Facebook.



. :   JASH Holds New Year Reception at Historic Washington Place

We are pleased to share select photos from our New Year's Reception held on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at Washington Place. Please click here for a link to our Facebook album.



. :   JASH Hosts Public Symposium on Cultural & Educational Interchange

Mr. Harry Hill, Chair of the U.S. CULCON Panel addresses the gathered guests on the importance of educational interchange at the Public Forum, East-West Center.

"The goodwill of the Japanese people is America's greatest strategic asset in the Asia-Pacific region." With these words, Mr. Mark Davidson, Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo framed the importance of this public symposium. Mr. Davidson identified Youth Engagement and Social Media as one of those strategic pillars. With close cooperation and support from the United States-Japan Conference on Cultural & Educational Interchange (CULCON), JASH held a public symposium on cultural and educational interchange in Hawaii to kick off the new year. Nearly 100 leaders from the community composed of educators, non-profits, think-tanks, and government groups gathered at the iconic I.M. Pei-designed Imin International Conference Center at the East-West Center to hear experts from Japan and the U.S. who had gathered for this occasion.

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy Susan Stevenson talks about the U.S. strategic imperative promoting educational exchanges as a means to promote mutual understanding; Minister for Public Affairs, Mr. Masato Otaka from the Japanese Embassy in the U.S. addresses the alarming drop in Japanese students studying in the U.S. and how Japanese Government is addressing the issue.

The symposium was conceived to take advantage of the CULCON Educational Task Force Meeting, held this year in Honolulu. Attending this event were nearly 30 U.S. and Japan experts on education to discuss its annual report, looking for solutions to address the declining interest of Japanese studying in the U.S. and the low U.S. student numbers studying in Japan. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Department of State, Honorable Susan Stevenson led off the symposium by stating how the U.S. government stresses the importance of promoting international exchanges, including educational ones. Following Ms. Stevenson's remarks, Mr. Masato Otaka, Minister for Public Affairs, Embassy of Japan in the United States listed the recent problematical trend of decreasing numbers of Japanese studying in the U.S. and what this meant to Japan's future economic viability and security. Mr. Otaka added that the Abe Administration through the Ministry of Education has set goals to double the number of Japanese students studying in the U.S. by 2020. The last presentation was by Mr. Mark Davidson who covered all aspects of the importance of cultural and educational interchange, inspiring all of us to continue with our programs. Notably, Mr. Davidson listed a number of programs JASH has or is conducting to support cultural and educational interchange, focusing on the successful Rainbow for Japan Kids program that brought Japanese children from the disaster region of Japan to Hawaii for rest, recuperation, and physical/psychological relief, awarding of exchange scholarships through the Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship Foundation, and recently assisting three locations in Japan (Nagaoka City, Ehime Prefecture, Shizuoka City) to apply for "Friendship Blossom" dogwood tree planting, a gift from the U.S. to Japan to mark the 100 year anniversary of the gifting of cherry trees to the United States in 1912.

Please visit the JASH Facebook page for additional photos of this event.



. :   A Festive Christmas Tea

Lillian Yajima, along with Tomodachi co-chair Kazuko Love, perform the "Mele Kalikimaka" hula.

On Thursday, December 12, JASH members and guests joined together for the annual Tomodachi Christmas Tea at A Cup of Tea in Kailua. It was a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of the busy holiday season and relax with some selections of holiday tea. A Cup of Tea provided a lovely backdrop with their festive Christmas décor.

Guests were entertained with guitar music by Charles K. "Uncle Charlie" Morton and everyone participated in a Christmas sing-a-long. An impromptu graceful hula by JASH intern Tomoko Hamamatsu with Uncle Charlie on guitar delighted guests. Tomodachi co-chair Kazuko Love also joined longtime member Lillian Yajima in sharing with guests the easy to follow "Mele Kalikimaka Hula." A few Tomodachi members also shared with the group some of their family traditions at Christmas. Family and togetherness was definitely a noted trend.

JASH would like to thank Tomodachi Planning Committee member Roberta Sullivan for making the arrangements for this event as well as providing the cute favors. We would also like to thank Charles K. Morton for getting us into the Christmas spirit with his medleys. Mahalo also to Tomodachi member Ray Tabata who captured the event as our volunteer photographer. Click here for a link to his photos.



. :   Pacific Command Invites JASH for Round Table Discussion

What is the meaning of U.S. "Rebalance" toward Asia, and how does the military respond to disaster and crises in the region? These were questions addressed head-on by top leadership of U.S. Pacific Command at a round-table discussion at U.S. Pacific Command Headquarters in Camp H.M. Smith on December 11th.

Directors of Japan-America Society of Hawaii, Trustees of Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship Foundation, and their guests were invited to the office of the top military commander in the Asia-Pacific region to discuss these issues as well as ask any other questions. The Intelligence Directorate Deputy provided a military briefing on the geo-political situation in the region after which our members engaged in a spirited discussion on issues such as "why isn't a hospital ship based centrally in the region when there are so many natural disasters to respond to?" Host Chief of Staff Major General Anthony Crutchfield assisted by the Deputy Plans Officer (Australian Brigadier General) and other staff members gave frank, well-reasoned responses to these questions over lunch in the conference center.

JASH Members inside Pacific Command Headquarters with Chief of Staff, Major General Anthony Crutchfield (center)

General Crutchfield thanked JASH and CPASF for the important work they do to promote the important U.S.-Japan relationship, adding that the relationship between the U.S. military and our organizations is extremely important. He ended his comments by promising to reach out more to community organizations. JASH would like to thank U.S. Pacific Command, General Crutchfield, and the community affairs office for planning and hosting this wonderful opportunity to learn about the activities of our military forces and what their presence means to Hawaii and the Asia-Pacific region.



. :   JASH Facebook Post



. :   Japan's Former Ambassador Fujisaki livens up Annual JASH Dinner

Ambassador Fujisaki addresses the JASH dinner crowd.

The Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) held its 37th Annual Dinner on the Hilton Hawaiian Village's Coral Ballroom. Nearly 400 members and supporters attended the gala event that is the major annual fundraising event for the Society.

A major part of the event is to honor a member of the community with the JASH Bridge Award for supporting working to build bridges of understanding and friendship between Hawaii and Japan. This year the Society honored former JASH Chair and President & CEO of First Insurance Company of Hawaii, Mr. Allen Uyeda. Mr. Uyeda was honored for his years of service to the community through support of organizations such as the Japanese American National Museum, Hawaii Asia Pacific Association, U.S.-Japan Council, Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship Foundation, and JASH. The award pointed to his passion for supporting cultural and educational exchanges to promote the important relationship between Hawaii and Japan. In the audience were students he personally helped.

Each year, JASH brings a renowned diplomat to address the dinner attendees. This year we were fortunate that former Japanese Ambassador to the U.S., Honorable Ichiro Fujisaki made the trip from Tokyo to speak to us. Ambassador Fujisaki covered the economic situation of Japan and the geo-politics of the region, but also spent time addressing the need to continue promoting educational and cultural exchanges between Japan and the U.S. It was an appropriate topic because he just assumed the position of President of the America-Japan Society Inc., an umbrella organization that coordinates the activities of 30 America-Japan Societies throughout Japan. Many of them are affiliated with JASH through educational and cultural exchanges. Following his talk, Ambassador Fujisaki took questions from the audience.

JASH welcomed senior military representatives from the community as well as State and City officials. Representatives of both Hawaii Governor Abercrombie and Honolulu Mayor Caldwell presented remarks on the occasion, and a message of support was sent by Hawaii's Representative Colleen Hanabusa. KITV News Reporter and JASH friend Lara Yamada did the emcee duties. Japanese Consul General Toyoei Shigeeda offered the closing kampai for another successful year.

JASH would like to thank all the table sponsors, supporters, and attendees for their support of this annual dinner, and for their support throughout the year. Names of sponsors and supporters can be found listed here. Mahalo to our official event photographer, Tony Grillo, of Artistic Mindz Photography and our volunteer photographer Colby Takeda for capturing our event. Please click on their names for a link to their photos.



. :   Japan-America Society of Hawaii Holds Fall 2013 McInerny Foundation's Japan Day

One hundred thirty two students representing Maryknoll School, Maui High School, Roosevelt High School, and Saint Andrew's Priory gathered at Hawaii Tokai International College for the Japan-America Society of Hawaii's (JASH) Fall 2013 Japan Day, sponsored by the McInerny Foundation. Over 40 volunteer experts presented cultural classes on bon dance, calligraphy, crafts, ikebana (flower arranging), kimono/yukata wear, soroban (Japanese abacus), and tea ceremony. Members of the Taiko Center of the Pacific energized the students by showcasing a few of their taiko pieces in the Welcome Ceremony. Students then proceeded to their cultural classes for this half-day program, which is now in its 20th year.

To date, over 5,300 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. 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.

(L-R Clockwise): Students are deep in concentration creating their ikebana masterpieces; The soroban class taught by Mr. Hideaki Oshima was a big hit among the students; Students participate in a tea ceremony; Many beautiful crafts were made during crafts class!

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. Shokyoku Hashiro and Mrs. Setsusen Tokumine; Mrs. Kikuji Yonesato and members of the Kikufu Nippon Bunka Kenkyu Kai; Mrs. Jessie Nakata of MOA Hawaii; Mrs. Jean Sakihara and members of Kimono Project USA; 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 Hawaii Tokai International College for the generous use of their facilities, and the Taiko Center of the Pacific for inspiring the students with their 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 Kelsey Soma Turek at 524-4450 or via email at



. :   Abe's Agenda for Japan with Dr. Sheila Smith

Dr. Smith addresses guests on the current political situation in Japan.

On Wednesday, August 21, JASH members and guests were very fortunate to have a presentation by Dr. Sheila Smith, Senior Fellow for Japan Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Dr. Smith analyzed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic agenda for Japan's future from multiple angles.

Dr. Smith spoke on the current tensions between Japan and China, especially over ownership of the Senkaku Islands. Current interactions on the water between Japan and China are stable, but Prime Minister Abe still refers to the need to defend the Senkaku Islands. Revisions to the Japanese Constitution may also be in order, in particular, Article 9 (use of force as a means of settling international disputes). Japan must consider what Article 9 does and doesn't do for their security. Mr. Abe will also probably move forward with the increase on the consumption tax. His vision overall is to end post-war constraints on Japan. "Abenomics" needs to succeed for Japan to have a strong economy so it can also have a strong defense.

We thank Dr. Smith for taking time out of her Hawaii visit to enlighten us on the current situation in Japan. Locals and Japanese nationals in the audience were very pleased with the question and answer session which allowed them to gain new insights into the China-Japan relationship, educational reform (in particular, the need for institutional transformation, broader government support, and social reward for risk taking), and the Japanese constitution.



. :   Machiya- The Delicate Townhouses of Kyoto with Ms. Pauline Chakmakjian

On Thursday, August 8, Tomodachi members and guests gathered at Tokoname Restaurant in Manoa for the annual "Let's Talk Luncheon." This year's featured guest speaker was Ms. Pauline Chakmakjian, a Trustee of the Japan Society of the UK and a Governor of the English-Speaking Union. She is an expert in the subject of Freemasonry and has also had the experience of living in a machiya.

Machiya, literally meaning 'townhouse,' are made of wood. Major fires in the 1800s destroyed many machiya so today there are virtually no examples of machiya more than 120 years old in downtown Kyoto. They were the homes of merchants. From the street view, machiya appear to be narrow but are actually very deep. This is because merchants were taxed according to the width of street front property. Machiya are distinguished by their features such as battari shogi (a wooden fold out bench in front used to display the merchant's wares or sit on), inu-yarai (a bamboo cover in front to act as a dog barrier), komayose (hitching post), koshi (lattice doors), and mushiko mado ('insect cage window' on the second floor for ventilation).

(L) The Noguchi Machiya - a Kyoto machiya still used as a private residence. The mushiko mado can be seen on the second floor. (R) Mahalo to Ms. Shirley Miyamoto for her role as co-chair and Ms. Pauline Chakmakjian for her lively talk on machiya.

Machiya are an important part of Kyoto's historical and cultural heritage, built in the traditional style of wood construction. The number of machiya has been slowly decreasing as they are costly to repair, dangerous with their steep steps, and not resistant to earthquakes or fires. Most machiya are currently used for private homes or businesses. It is even possible to stay at an Iori machiya (see for more information).

JASH would like to thank Ms. Chakmakjian for taking time to give a lecture during her Hawaii visit. A big otsukaresama to outgoing co-chair Shirley Miyamoto for her two years of hard work in planning and coordinating Tomodachi events.



. :   Hawaii's Kids visit Tohoku to Reconnect with Japanese Kids

Hawaii's kids help clean Shichigahama Beach park in Miyagi Prefecture as part of their volunteer activity during the Japan trip.

Eight youth from Hawaii ages 13-18 visited northern Japan recently to reconnect with Japanese kids who visited Hawaii under the Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) sponsored Rainbow for Japan Kids (RFJK) project. JASH has been bringing Japanese children directly affected by the 3/11 disaster to Hawaii for rest, recuperation, and physical/psychological relief. A major goal of this project is to create lasting friendships with Hawaii's kids through camp stays and outdoor activities surrounded by Hawaii's natural beauty. Under a grant from TOMODACHI, JASH sent eight kids from Hawaii to Japan to reconnect with the Japanese kids. Over five days, Hawaii's kids attended a reunion with the Japanese kids at a sports camp near Sendai, visited a school in Onagawa City which sent kids to Hawaii, and engaged in a volunteer activity helping to clear an ocean-side park of weeds and trash to make it useable again. Brock Honda, one of the participants, spoke about his experience, saying "I just can't get over how positive the kids I saw were despite all they've been through. It makes me want to be more positive in everything I do." Brock's comments were reflective of those from other participants. They also expressed a desire to be more caring for others and that their experiences made them more self-confident.

Japanese kids show the Hawaii kids how to make sushi dishes in Sendai.



. :   Fifteen Japanese Students from Tohoku Visit Hawaii under Rainbow for Japan Kids Project

Enjoying snorkeling and experiencing coral reef and sea life at Kahaluu Bay on the Island of Hawaii.

The seventh group of junior high school students from the three disaster affected prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima arrived in Hawaii on July 29th for the Rainbow for Japan Kids (RFJK) program. These fifteen students make a total of 150 students who have been brought to Hawaii under this project since its inception in July 2011. As in previous visits, the students stayed at YMCA Camp Erdman on Oahu's North Shore engaging in outdoor activities with local youth. The visitors then traveled to the Big Island to learn ocean resources conservation while snorkeling at Kahaluu Bay. While on the Big Island, the students stayed at Kilauea Military Camp in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park where they hiked around the craters, heard stories about the Polynesian discovery of the Islands, and did stargazing at night while guided by an astronomer from Subaru Telescope on Mauna Kea peak. This time, several Bridge Club Hawaii students joined the Japanese kids. Back on Oahu, the students again engaged in water activities to include stand-up paddling and canoe races at Hilton's Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon, courtesy of Hilton Grand Vacations/Waikiki Beach Activities, and made their own ukuleles at KoAloha Ukulele, courtesy of the KoAloha staff. The students returned to Japan on August 7.

Playing together and making friends with members of Bridge Club Hawaii at YMCA's Camp Erdman on Oahu's North Shore.

Earlier in July, eight Bridge Club Hawaii members visited Tohoku to renew friendships created with previous Japanese students who visited Hawaii under the Rainbow for Japan Kids project. JASH intends to take opportunities in the future to reconnect Bridge Club Hawaii students with these Japanese students who visit Hawaii to continue building friendships and promoting mutual understanding in line with its mission.

RFJK is a proud partner with TOMODACHI, a private-public partnership led by the U.S. Embassy and the U.S.-Japan Council that aims to invest in the next generation of Japanese and Americans in ways that strengthen cultural and economic ties, and deepen the friendship between U.S. and Japan over the long term. TOMODACHI also funds the return visits of Bridge Club Hawaii students to Tohoku under the TOMODACHI-Rainbow Initiative. More information on these programs can be found on the JASH website at, or by calling JASH at (808) 524-4450, and on the U.S. Embassy website at



. :   Junior Ambassadors travel to the Asian-Pacific Children's Convention in Fukuoka

Hawaii delegates at Tenjin Park on the day of the "We are the Bridge" Festival.

Twelve delegates from Hawaii traveled to Fukuoka, Japan this July to take part in the 25th Anniversary of the Asian-Pacific Children's Convention (APCC). Six "Junior Ambassadors" (Brett Castro, Cole Ichikawa, Wesley Yamada, Kate Helbush, Kiana Kawahara and Megan Oshiro) along with "Peace Ambassador" David Nakanishi, Chaperone Daniel Hwang, Bridge Club Head Officer Jacob Saiki, Bridge Club Hawaii Founder Colby Takeda, Bridge Club President Korie Lum and JASH Intern Tomoko Hamamatsu all attended and took part in the 25th APCC which was held from July 12 - 22, 2013. All attendees were sponsored by APCC Fukuoka.

The non-profit organization APCC Fukuoka promotes relationships between children of various countries so that they will become adults with a strong social responsibility for the world. The Hawaii Junior Ambassadors spent the first three nights at a youth camp with other Junior Ambassadors from Japan and 42 other countries and cities throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Following camp, the Junior Ambassadors met their host families in Miyama city and moved to the home stay portion of the program. During this time, the other Hawaii delegates took part in meetings and workshops with other Bridge Club members from around the world to discuss the future of the APCC. All twelve of the delegates met up again at the "We Are the Bridge" cultural exchange festival at Tenjin Central Park in Fukuoka City on July 20. There, the Hawaii Junior Ambassadors performed two oli (chants) and danced the hula to the song E Ku'u Tutu, which they had learned from Makua Dori Kim, a Hawaiian studies teacher at Aina Haina Elementary. This was the first time that the APCC streamed the performances "live" via U-Stream so that the families here in Hawaii could watch the show.

After an activity packed ten days, everyone returned to Honolulu on July 22. The delegates met again with Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui to share their experiences.

The delegates with their parents met for one last workshop where they discussed their experiences being a part of the APCC program this year. JASH would like to thank all the families, friends, and supporters who helped prepare the delegates and supported them throughout the program.

Junior Ambassadors play cards with their roommates from Busan at Marine House Camp.



. :   Traditional Japan in Aiea Heights

The tranquil Japanese style garden of the Bellinger residence set the scene for the July 11th Tomodachi gathering. Tomodachi members Roger and Masako Bellinger opened their home to showcase their vast collection of art, antiques, and artifacts from Asia, Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, and Hawaii. The highlight of the garden was a custom built tea house sitting high at the back of the property and offering views of Pearl Harbor and Ewa.

Roger Bellinger was a close friend of the late Hawaii artist John Young. The design and size of the tea house was thanks to Young's urgings that it be big enough to serve as a guest cottage for him to stay in, complete with attached bathroom. Oddly enough Young never ended up staying in the tea house, but an original painting of horses in his famous calligraphic style graces the closet doors. Another such original horse painting is hidden on a pocket door in the house leading to the staircase.

(L) Walking up to the Tea House. (R) A John Young original graces the closet doors of the Tea House.

Approaching the main house, you are instantly reminded of a traditional Machiya guest house in Kyoto, with vertical wooden lattice screens covering the windows and a rock garden in front. Old hibachi serve as lotus ponds throughout the garden. The second story addition on the main house is like a mini art museum. Rugs from the Middle East line the floors in all rooms. Ceramics and figurines stand proudly on the shelves. Paintings by famous artists such as John Young, Madge Tennent, and Yasuhide Kobashi fill the walls leaving hardly a blank space to be seen.

Guests enjoyed hearing Roger's stories on how various pieces were purchased and brought back to Hawaii. Without any knowledge of the Chinese language, Roger was even able to negotiate a price in the Chinese market. Many guests were interested in having a "part two" tour since they were still intrigued on pieces they did not get to hear a story about. Perhaps Roger has inspired a new generation of art and antique collectors.

We would like to thank Roger and Masako Bellinger for opening their home gallery to us. Thank you also to Tomodachi co-chair Mrs. Shirley Miyamoto for organizing this event, as well as donating a delicious Lemon Crunch Cake from The Alley for dessert. For a link to more photos from the tour, please click here.

(L) Roger shows guests the sign he acquired from a John Young exhibit at the Honolulu Academy of Arts (now the Honolulu Museum). (R) Roger opens up a large Japanese screen he had restored.



. :   Japan's Defense Minister Visits Ehime Maru Memorial

Japan's Minister of Defense Honorable Itsunori Onodera visited the Ehime Maru Memorial at Kakaako Waterfront Park in Honolulu on July 1st. Minister Onodera was in Hawaii for discussions with the Commander of U.S. Pacific Command.

On hand to greet Minister Onodera was Japan-America Society of Hawaii and Ehime Maru Memorial Association President Ed Hawkins. Mr. Hawkins explained the significance of the memorial and the efforts of the Hawaii community and other visitors to clean the memorial as a public service and to honor the nine lost crew of the Ehime Maru. Mr. Hawkins also discussed educational and sports exchanges set up between Hawaii and Ehime as good-will measures following the tragedy. Following the presentation of a wreath to the victims, Minister Onodera met with groups of volunteers from various organizations who clean the memorial. These included the current and incoming President of Hawaii United Japanese Society, the President of Meijikai, President of Fukushima Kenjinkai, and President and members of the Miyagi Kenjinkai. Being from the city of Kesenuma, a town devastated by the earthquake and tsunami of March, 2011, Minister Onodera was especially thankful to Miyagi Kenjinkai and JASH for taking care of the children of Miyagi who visit Hawaii under the Rainbow for Japan Kids project.

Japan's Defense Minister Onodera greets volunteers who clean the memorial at Kakaako Waterfront Park.



. :   Visit with Pacific Air Forces Commander

On June 12, General Herbert "Hawk" Carlisle invited members of the Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) and the Hawaii United Okinawa Association (HUOA) to his Pacific Air Forces Headquarters at Hickam Air Base to learn the mission of his expansive command first hand and hear his thoughts on the U.S.-Japan relationship. On hand were 17 members of JASH and HUOA, along with General Carlisle's Vice Commander, General Kresge, and other general officers and heads of his staff offices. General Carlisle began the session with a personal description of the Command's mission, stressing the importance of the U.S.-Japan relationship. Following his talk, the General opened up the floor for questions.

General Carlisle emphasized the importance of the professional and personal relationship he has with the "Koukuujieitai," the Air Self Defense Force of Japan. He and his staff covered the threat posed by North Korea, China's emergence as a military power in the region, security relations with the Republic of Korea, and the general situation in the vast Asia-Pacific region. General Carlisle also addressed the importance of Kadena Air Base and the U.S. military presence in Okinawa, stressing the need to work closely with the local Okinawa population to promote mutual understanding and promote the public welfare. As an example, he pointed to a program that allows for farming in military areas to benefit the local economy.

General Carlisle addresses JASH and HUOA members as his staff listens.

This visit is part of the JASH program to inform its members and local community organizations on the importance of the U.S. military presence in Hawaii and the region, and the importance of the military relationship with Japan. JASH meets with U.S. Pacific Command and its Component Commands regularly.

JASH President Ed Hawkins (R) and HUOA President George Bartels (L) with General Carlisle.



Past Events 2013

Past Events 2012

Japanese Translations of Recent Events
Home | About | Opportunities | Educational Programs | Programs | How to Help | Events | Corporate Members
Membership | Organization | Activities & Accomplishments | Newsletter
Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship | Ehime Maru Memorial Association | Privacy and Copyright

Website hosted by NetEnterprise. Website updates by Kobayashi Travel Service.