43rd Annual Dinner & Silent Auction

On September 17, 2019, JASH held its 43rd Annual Dinner & Silent Auction, themed “Celebrating the Dawn of Reiwa,” the beginning of a new era for Japan, a time when Japan and the U.S. can celebrate the very special bond that our countries share.

The 2019 Bridge Award was presented to Mr. Paul Yonamine, Chairman and CEO of Central Pacific Financial Corp., and Executive Chairman of Central Pacific Bank. We were also honored to have Duane Kurisu, Chairman and CEO of aio as our keynote speaker.

(L-R) Mr. Steve Sombrero, Ms. Ann Kobayashi, Mr. Paul Yonamine, Ms. Reyna Kaneko, Governor David Ige, Ms. Kymberly Pine and Mayor Kirk Caldwell

Mr. Duane Kurisu, Chairman and CEO of the Hawaii-based conglomerate aio, described the difference between a “warrior” and a “leader.” A warrior sees only one side of things and forges ahead relentlessly. A leader is able to step back, assess the whole situation, and plan strategically to conquer challenges more effectively and efficiently. In reference to the theme of the dinner, “Celebrating the Dawn of Reiwa”, Mr. Kurisu passionately spoke about the need for “not good, not great, but extraordinary leaders” in this new era

Mr. Yonamine, Chairman and CEO of Central Pacific Financial Corp. and Executive Chairman of Central Pacific Bank has spent most of his professional life building bridges of friendship and understanding between the people of Japan and Hawaii. He humbly accepted the award, not for himself but, as a delegate to celebrate the collective work of the community. Mr. Yonamine recalled words from the late Senator Daniel Inouye stating the relationship between Japan and the U.S. as the most important bilateral relationship in the world. Mr. Yonamine is the epitome of what the JASH Bridge Award stands for and why it was established. He serves as an inspiration for all of us and most importantly, he is a role-model for our next generation of leaders.

Mr. Steve Sombrero, JASH Chairman of the Board conducts the General Membership Meeting and shares JASH initiatives.

Ms. Reyna Kaneko, JASH President shares the many facets of JASH and its mission of promoting understanding and friendship between the people of Japan and the United States through the unique perspective of Hawai`i

In “Celebrating the Dawn of Reiwa”, Consul General Koichi Ito leads the guests in the kanpai toast.


Mr. Daniel Dinell, Master of Ceremonies for the evening leads the guests in a friendly competition to get the crowd engaged.

Entertainment was provided by Ms. Anju Madoka and Mr. Darin Miyashiro. Anju was born and raised in Osaka, Japan and is the current head of the Madoka no Kai Japanese folk song school which promotes the philosophy of “enjoyment for everyone”.

Mr. Miyashiro was born and raised in Hawaii. He was introduced to koto master Kazue Sawai during a study abroad program and continues to study under her. He currently teaches koto at the UH Manoas music department.

Preparing the world leaders of tomorrow. JASH’s educational programs for grades K-12 engage the youth of Hawaii in learning and understanding different cultures and customs. There is no right or wrong way, just different perspectives is one of the concepts promoted.

Thank you to our silent auction donors for helping to make the online auction a success! In appreciation to Mr. Kurisu and his work with Kahauiki Village, the affordable permanent housing project for former homeless families, JASH is pleased to donate 10% of the net proceeds from the 2019 JASH Silent Auction to this cause.

Mahalo to Michael Han of the Wedding Ring Shop for his creation and donation of the special custom designed gold pendant awarded during the Lucky Draw.

On behalf of the Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH), we’d like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to all sponsors, dinner patrons, silent auction patrons, donors, and volunteers who made our 43rd JASH Annual Dinner & Silent Auction a great success. We were deeply honored to present the 2019 JASH Bridge Award to Mr. Paul Yonamine and have Mr. Duane Kurisu as our Key Note Speaker.

Please join JASH in continuing our important work of promoting understanding and friendship between the people of Japan and Hawaii. Now more than ever, “Being the Bridge” between the U.S. and Japan through the unique perspective of Hawaii is critical. The ability to appreciate and respect differences promotes diversity and contributes to a peaceful and harmonious world.

Please continue to support our efforts to understand and appreciate different perspectives. Mahalo for your continued support.

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