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Watashitachino Dentou Wo Eien Ni PERPETUATING OUR TRADITIONS

57th Cherry Blossom Festival Fifty - Seventh Cherry Blossom Festival Watashitachino Dentou Wo Eien Ni – Perpetuating Our Traditions

Sponsored By The Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber Of Commerce





The ultimate 100 facet diamond.

APPRECIATE THE DIFFERENCE OF THE CENTO DIAMOND. 909 Kapiolani Blvd. Honolulu, Hawaii 96814 808.591.8080


contents MESSAGES 3 5 7 9 11 16

Governor Linda Lingle and Lieutenant Governor James “Duke” Aiona, Jr. Mayor Mufi Hannemann and Consul General of Japan Toshio Kunikata United States Senators Daniel K. Inouye and Daniel K. Akaka United States Members of Congress Neil Abercrombie and Mazie Hirono 59th HJJCC President David Kaneko 57th CBF General Chair Corday Feagins

FEATURES 12 12 14 17 19 20 34 44 45 46 48 51 52 53 54 61 67

59th HJJCC Board of Directors History of the HJJCC Young Business Roundtable 57th CBF Steering Committee History of the Cherry Blossom Festival Cherry Blossom Festival Sponsors About the 57th Cherry Blossom Festival Celebrating 10 Years of Multicultural Diversity Cultural Award Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Award Essay Contest Visiting Royalty Japan Cherry Blossom Association Sister Chapters Japan Goodwill Tour Past Presidents, Queen, and Chairs Souvenir Book Cover Gallery

QUEEN, COURT & CONTESTANTS 1 23 24 27 28 30 36 37 38 58

56th CBF Queen Photo – Kimono 56th CBF Queen Photo – Evening Gown Letter by 56th CBF Queen – Tricia Heather Shiori Tamaru 56th CBF Queen & Court 56th CBF Court Thank You Messages 56th CBF Queen & Court Community Service Events 57th CBF Calendar of Events 57th CBF Contestants 57th CBF Contestant Portraits and Biographies 57th CBF Queen & Court Awards


Behind the Scenes Honorary Advisors Applause List of Advertisers

ON THE COVER 56th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Trisha Heather Shiori Tamaru wears a beautiful silk furisode kimono generously provided to her by the Fujiyasu Kimono Company, a Diamond Sponsor. Trisha was dressed by professional kimono dresser Ms. Yuko Miskolczy of Watabe Wedding, a Diamond Sponsor, and was photographed by Mr. Steven Yamaki, Professional Photographer and owner of Images by Steven, a Silver Sponsor. 1

Savor the flavors of the Islands. From a casual snack on Waikı¯kı¯ Beach to the mouth-watering appeal of our signature steaks, you’ll find a combination of the finest cuisine and the most enticing atmospheres. For reservations or more information, call 921-4600 or visit


SHERATON WAIKIKI RumFire ~ Twist at Hanohano Ingredients ~ Sand Bar

MOANA SURFRIDER, A WESTIN RESORT & SPA beachhouse at the moana ~ the veranda breakfast the veranda afternoon tea ~ The Beach Bar

THE ROYAL HAWAIIAN Surf Lanai ~ Mai Tai Bar Azure Restaurant


ALWI-16780 Pub: Cherry Blossom Souvenir Book 2008 Size: Full Page 7” x 10”, non-bleed • 4-Color

• C •O •N G • R •


Lt. Governor James R. “Duke” Aiona, Jr.

presented to

We are pleased that the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce has continued to host one of • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Hawai‘i’s most celebrated ethnic festivals for more than half a century. This year’s theme, Perpetuating Our • Tradition, • • • is •especially • • meaningful • • • •because, • • with • the • community’s • • • • support, • • •the •Cherry • •Blossom • • Festival • • is • able • • • to• pass • down • • Japanese • • traditions, • • • culture, • • history • • and • language • • • for • generations • • • to• come. • • • • • • • • •

A• T• U •L A • T• O• R •Y • M• E •S S • A • G• E •S

Linda Lingle and James “Duke” Aiona

Message from Governor Linda Lingle


• • •ANNUAL • • • • • • CHERRY • • • • • • BLOSSOM • • • • • • • FESTIVAL • • • • • • • 57 th

• Honolulu • • • Japanese • • • Junior • • Chamber • • of • Commerce • • • has • played • • an • important • • • role • in • our • state • •for •more • • The • than • •58 years. • • The • •people • •of Hawai‘i • • •and• their • friends • • in • Japan • • share • •a special • • relationship, • • • •which • •is further • • • • strengthened • • • • through • • events • • such • as• this • festival. • • Your • • work • truly • • enriches • • the • cultural • • diversity • • • of •our •islands. • • •

• extend • • a• warm • •mahalo • •to the • Honolulu • • • Japanese • • • Junior • •Chamber • • of • Commerce • • • and • the • volunteers • • • for • • We • their • •continued • • support • • •in preserving • • • and • promoting • • • the • heritage • • of • Japan. • • • • • • • • • • • • •


On • behalf • • of • the • people • • of • Hawai‘i, • • • we• send • •our • personal • • greetings • • • of• aloha • • to •the •participants • • • and • • supporters of the 57th annual Cherry Blossom Festival, sponsored by the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Commerce. •

• best • •wishes • •for •another • • memorable • • • Our •

• • Lingle • • • • • • Linda • Governor, • • • State • of • Hawai‘i • • •


• and •

• • festival. • • • exciting

• • R.• “Duke” • • Aiona, • • Jr.• • • • James Lieutenant • • • Governor, • • • State • • of Hawai‘i • • •

• •





• C •O •N G • R •

MESSAGE FROM THE MAYOR City & County of Honolulu

Mufi Hannemann • • • • • • • • • •


A• T• U •L A • T• O• R •Y • M• E •S S • A • G• E •S


Respect FOSTERS trust. Trust FOSTERS friendship. Friendship FOSTERS peace.

Congratulations to the participants of the 57th Cherry Blossom Festival. It’s our pleasure to support an event that inspires Hawaii’s young women to reach for their goals. Member FDIC


FHIB-14878 R1_7x10.indd 1

11/25/08 2:44:12 PM

• C •O •N G • R •


Daniel K.• Inouye • • • • • • • • •


Daniel • • • • K. • • Akaka • • • •

A• T• U •L A • T• O• R •Y • M• E •S S • A • G• E •S


For Your Travelife

Travel to the Orient Sunrise Tours Japan Rail Pass Sponsor of the 57th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival

JTB Hawaii, Inc.

(Outbound Department)

715 South King Street (Corner of King/Cooke) Honolulu Hawaii 96813 Phone (808)548-2001 8

• C •O •N G • R •


Neil Abercrombie • • • • • • • • • •


A• T• U •L A • T• O• R •Y • M• E •S S • A • G• E •S


• S O U P • S A L A D • S A N DW I C H • I C E D T E A • D E S S E R T • C O F F E E • AC A I

ward warehouse 808.591.1005

Fresh and healthy. That’s how we like our food. Enjoy a delicious cup of hear ty minestrone soup, a chicken walnut sandwich, lychee iced tea... and of cour se , our famous pumpkin cr unch. And that’s just a glance at our menu. As 200 9 Cher r y Blossom Festival sponsor s, we’re proud to host and cater to our fr iends involved in the Festival. Thank you for making us a par t of the Cher r y Blossom Festival.

W W W. T H E W E D D I N G C A F E . N E T



President David Kaneko



Board of Directors

David Kaneko President

Corday Feagins 57th CBF General Chair

Wendy Yamamoto VP - Membership Development

Justin George Chairman of the Board

Shauna Goya Secretary

Kris Miyamoto Executive Vice President

Darren Ota Treasurer

Merrissa Uchimura Cheryl Shintani VP - Management VP - Community Development Development

Robb Taone Queen’s Advisor

Tiffany Mitani Historian

Cheryl Sora VP - International Relations

James Kaneshiro YBR

The formation of the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce (HJJCC) occurred during an era when the Japanese American community was searching for its place in mainstream America. In the 1930s and 1940s, the Japanese throughout the United States faced social pressure to integrate themselves into the American culture and lifestyle. The internment, relocation and evacuation of 120,000 Japanese Americans and permanent resident aliens of Japanese ancestry during World War II created additional hardships and challenges.

HISTORY of the


After the end of the war, many nisei (second generation Japanese Americans) returned from the armed services or mainland schools to find a distinct void in the Japanese community. “The issei (first generation Japanese immigrants) hesitated to regroup for fear that they might be labeled anti-American,” said Robert Sato, the first HJJCC President, “and the younger generation had neither vehicle nor the desire to gather together other than a few veteran groups.” It wasn’t until the Japanese Chamber of Commerce was revived a few years later after the end of the war that the idea of a “vehicle” for the younger generation was suggested. The second post-war president of the Chamber, Servco Pacific founder Peter Fukunaga, encouraged the formation of a “junior” division to train future leaders. The idea, as expressed by Sato, was to train the next generation so that they could eventually assume the reigns of the “senior” chamber. So in 1949, an organizational meeting was convened and 45 charter members adopted bylaws and elected officers. Thus was born the Junior Japanese Chamber of Commerce.

In Sato’s inaugural speech on January 14, 1950, he declared that the junior chamber was being organized “with the two-fold purpose of trying to build good citizenship among our young Japanese Americans and to provide them with a medium of training for participation in worthwhile community-wide civic projects.” Unfortunately, not all groups warmly received the new Junior Chamber. As Sato remarked, some people felt that a group developed along ethnic lines “would not enhance the cause of Americanism among the Japanese American citizens.” There were still other challenges waiting. When the organization was formed, membership was limited only to men, and the many meetings of the fledgling group met with the disapproval of the wives. To alleviate this disruption to their domestic tranquility, Sato and his fellow members decided to ask their wives to become auxiliary members. This move proved to not only be rewarding for the members and their wives, but also one of the major “forces” behind the success of many projects, including the Cherry Blossom Festival. In 1952, the organization became affiliated with the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce, a leadership development organization for young people, and changed their name to the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce. In the early years as a chapter of the Jaycees organization, the Junior Chamber sponsored many community events such as nurse scholarship dances, HawaiiJapan student conferences and drives for the Aloha Week Festival, the Community Chest, the Red Cross, and Christmas Seals. Among those events was the inaugural Cherry Blossom Festival in 1953. By 1954, membership in the Junior Chamber had swelled from the original 45 members to more than 130. Membership continued to increase and reached 200 in 1958 and then 250 in 1963. The allowable age range for membership varied from 20 to 36, then from 18 to 35, and finally to 21 to 39 (which it remains to this day).

In addition, in the late 1950s, the Junior Chamber began admitting men from other ethnic backgrounds that would rise to the task of moving the Junior Chamber forward. Germiniano Arre, Jr. became the first president of Filipino ancestry in 1969. Richard Bauske was the first Caucasian president in 1975 and Kenneth Chang became the first president of Chinese ancestry in 1979. But the changes weren’t over. Following a move by the national Jaycees organization, the Junior Chamber extended equal membership to women. In light of what the founding members discovered in the early days of the Junior Chamber, this would be a rewarding and beneficial move for the organization. Thus, it came as no surprise that the women brought new vitality to the Junior Chamber and rose to positions of prominence. Phyllis Yuen (now Fujiwara) became the first woman President of the Junior Chamber in 1989. A couple years later, in late 1991, Lenny Andrew (formerly Yajima and the 34th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen) would become the first woman to lead the Cherry Blossom Festival through its 40th anniversary. Throughout the years, the Junior Chamber has reached out to the global community and formed close bonds with other ethnic festivals and Jaycee organizations. For almost three decades, the Cherry Blossom Festival and the Junior Chamber has enjoyed a reciprocal relationship with the Nisei Week Japanese Festival in Los Angeles (incidentally, Nisei Week was the inspiration for the Cherry Blossom Festival). Also, reciprocal relationships were formed with the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco and the Japanese Community Queen Contest in the Greater Seattle area. In addition to these relationships, the Junior Chamber enjoys “sister chapter” relations with the Hilo Jaycees on the Big Island and the Kobe, Odawara, Kurashiki, Kojima, and Tamashima Junior Chambers in Japan. All these relationships have resulted in numerous visits to each other’s cities, lifelong friendships, unique and enjoyable shared experiences, and cultural exchange.

Over its long history, the HJJCC has offered members numerous opportunities to develop leadership, managerial, and organizational skills through the planning and implementation of personal development and community service projects. At the same time, these projects allowed members to form lasting friendships, establish business contacts, and most importantly, have fun. Examples of the wide range of projects and programs conducted include sports leagues (volleyball, softball, and bowling); seminars on time management, interpersonal communication, crime prevention, and Japanese business etiquette; blood drives; environmental beautification projects, movie nights, socials, political candidate forums, special seasonal celebrations for organizations like HUGS and Special Olympics, public speaking training, and coordinating the selection of Junior Ambassadors and delegate-chaperones to the annual Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention in Fukuoka, Japan. Entering its 59th year, the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce continues its efforts to foster young leaders through professional development, community service, and the promotion of Japanese culture and Japanese American heritage. Like many other community organizations, the Junior Chamber finds itself dealing with a myriad of social, economic, domestic, and cultural challenges that require open mindedness, flexibility and innovative approaches. In the 21st century, the Junior Chamber’s diverse membership continues to grow with a renewed commitment to serve the community, while developing their leadership skills and fostering relationships that will enhance the lives of family, friends, neighbors, and peers. Although they are crafting and implementing their vision for the future, they recognize and value the rich history of the Junior Chamber, and applaud and appreciate the original 45 founding members whose foresight, courage, and dedication built the strong foundation for the organization’s continued success. 13



The Young Business Roundtable (YBR), a program of the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce, is committed to the professional and personal development of its members. The YBR was created to form a strong interactive and influential community among young professionals in Honolulu, and to assist members in excelling in their respective careers. Speakers this past year have included Lance Kakimoto of UBS Financial; Robin Cam-


professional and personal development

paniano of AIG Hawaii, who spoke about his life experiences and the growth of AIG Hawaii; representatives of JN Automotive who talked about leasing and buying luxury automobiles; and Paul Brewbaker, Chief Economist for the Bank of Hawaii. Naturally, all of these YBR events were followed by hours of networking and friendship building. To inquire about the YBR, please send an email to We look forward to seeing you at our next event!



General Chair Corday Feagins



Steering Committee Executive Area

Corday Feagins

Vail Matsumoto

General Chair

Executive Assistant

Catherine Toth

Sydette Nekoba

Robb Taone


Jonathan Murai

Sales Coordinator

Justin George

Hospitality Chair

Sharene Urakami


Pono Chong


Michael Matsuo

Neysa Park



Queen Area Leilani Tan

Contestant Coordinator

Holly Hayashi Lori Kohara


Yoshikawa Watanabe Festival Ball Festival Ball Judging Chair Program Director Violet Niimi Co-Coordinator Judging Scholarship Award Co-Coordinator

Queen Area & Closing Ceremonies Chair

Contestant Search

Kimberly Kwock


Lisa Okinaga

Michelle Kauinui

Terri Inefuku Vail Matsumoto

Lee Higa

Leighton Hara

Show Area Whitney Asao

Jill Koide

Liane Oyama

Uchimura Opening Ceremonies Yamamoto Public Appearances Show Area & Co-Chair Co-Chair Closing Opening Ceremonies Public Appearances Ceremonies Chair Co-Chair Co-Chair

Alvan Fukuhara

Heritage Fair Co-Chair

Heritage Fair Co-Chair


Show Area

Contestant Reception Co-Chair

Fashion Show Chair Silent Auction/ Donation Contestant Coordinator Reception Co-Chair

Marketing Area Holly Hayashi

Marketing Area Souvenir Book Chair Chair

T-Shirt Chair

Howard Chi

Meredith Kuba Jean Panoncial

Essay Contest Chair Award Donor Chair PR/Advertising


Sweet. Refined. Full Of Aloha. Just Like The Festival Contestants.

Hawaiian Host is proud to support the 57th Cherry Blossom Festival.



Cherry Blossom Festival Considered the longest continuously running ethnic festival in Hawaii, the Cherry Blossom Festival has enjoyed a long tradition of perpetuating the Japanese culture and heritage in the Islands. In 1949, Junior Chamber Vice President Akira “Sunshine” Fukunaga, returned to Hawaii from visiting the Nisei Week Japanese Festival in Los Angeles. He brought back with him the idea of starting a similar Japanese cultural celebration in Hawaii. It took four years of dedication and hard work by Junior Chamber members and other volunteers to put on the first Cherry Blossom Festival. But that first festival required more than just a commitment of time and resources. Each Junior Chamber member invested $1,000 for a start-up fund. Under the leadership of General Chairman Takaaki Nakata, the Junior Chamber introduced the first annual Japanese ethnic festival in Hawaii. It boasted a window display contest; a kabuki drama; a radio personality show; a fashion show by Hariuchi Uchida; kabuki doll-making; ikebana exhibits; and demonstrations of Japanese cooking, painting and classical dance. Highlighting that first festival was the Queen Pageant. In the inaugural year, 72 young women participated in the pageant, culminating with the crowning of Violet Niimi as the first Cherry Blossom Festival Queen. The event ended with an ondo and fireworks show at the old Honolulu Stadium in Moiliili. Over the years the Cherry Blossom Festival continued to celebrate and perpetuate the Japanese culture and heritage in Hawaii. Every year new projects and events were added to the festival. In 1955, the festival brought the world-famous Takarazuka all-female revue to Hawaii. In 1966, the first all-Hawaii Shirooto Nodojiman Taikai (statewide amateur song contest) was jointly presented with KZOO Radio. In 1974, Japan’s national treasure, the Awaji Puppet Theatre was featured. In 1984, a 6-kilometer fun run and a golf tournament debuted as official festival events. In 1990, the culture show was transformed into the Culture and Craft Fair to showcase and celebrate the talents of local entrepreneurs and artists. In 1995, an essay contest for local

high school students was made part of the program of events. In 1998, the Community Service Award was added, recognizing an individual who has helped perpetuate the Japanese culture in the community and lent support to the festival. In 1999 the first International Taiko Festival was introduced, and the Queen Pageant and Coronation Ball were combined into one celebration. Today, the festival includes a golf tournament, fashion show, a heritage fair, mall appearances and the popular contestant reception at a local nightclub. Perhaps the most significant change to the festival, however, was the revamping of the Queen Contestant program. For the first 46 years of the festival, women of only Japanese ancestry were considered for selection as a contestant. Recognizing that the Japanese-American community in Hawaii had become more diverse — and with the intent to place more emphasis on leadership and community service — the Junior Chamber, in 1999, opened the Queen contest to multiethnic Japanese-American women. Although it was considered a very controversial move, the festival and the Junior Chamber succeeded in expanding its reach to the local multiethnic community that Hawaii is known for. In 2000, Vail Matsumoto became the first Queen with less than 100 percent Japanese ancestry. The following year Catherine Toth became the first Queen without a Japanese surname. This year the 57th Cherry Blossom Festival marks the 10-year anniversary of the blood quantum change. The Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce continues its proud sponsorship of the Cherry Blossom Festival, which has earned the reputation of being one of the oldest, uninterrupted ethnic celebrations in the state. For the eighth year in a row, the festival will award the annual Violet Niimi Scholarship Award to one of our 12 Queen contestants. She will receive $5,000 to go towards her education. Now in its 57th year, the Cherry Blossom Festival, along with the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce and festival supporters, hope to continue this long-standing tradition in the Islands for many more years to come. 19

Diamond Sponsors

Fujiyasu Kimono Company Kazunari Mochizuki President

Japan Airlines Takashi Yamaoka Vice President and Regional Manager, Hawaii

Kyo-ya Company, LLC Ernest Nishizaki Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer

Obun Hawaii Group Raymond Nishigaya President

Pamela Futa Campbell

Shiseido Cosmetics (America), Ltd. Heidi Manheimer President

Watabe Wedding Corporation Masai Seki President, Hawaii Branch 20

Gold Sponsors

Gyotaku Japanese Restuarant Thomas Jones President

JTB Hawaii, Inc. Keiichi Tsujino Vice President of JTB Hawaii

Marukai Wholesale Mart Richard Matsu Executive Vice President

Silver Sponsors

First Hawaiian Bank Donald Horner President and Chief Executive Officer

Wedding CafĂŠ Tanna and Bryson Dang Owners

Gyotaku by Naoki Naoki Hayashi Owner/Artist

Images by Steven Steven Yamaki Photographer and Owner

Elle Couture Jewelers

Basic Design Concepts Brien Ing Owner/Lead Designer



56th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen

Trisha Heather Shiori Tamaru

56th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Trisha Heather Shiori Tamaru was photographed by Mr. Steven Yamaki, Professional Photographer and owner of Images by Steven, a Silver Sponsor. Trisha’s hairstyle and makeup were done by Marlo Rivera and Sharon Namahoe of Avance Salon. 23

Letter from Queen Trisha Tamaru


Two years ago, while living in Tokyo and working for Watabe Wedding, I was sent on a seemingly insignificant business trip to Kyoto to host the 54th Cherry Blossom Festival Court. Little did I know that that trip would send me on a lifechanging journey. Through this journey, first as a contestant, then as a member of the 56th Court, I learned the true meaning of the Cherry Blossom Festival. I learned that it wasn’t about a souvenir book, public appearances, a poster or Festival Ball. And it wasn’t about the kimono, a sash, a title or a sparkling crown. The Cherry Blossom Festival was about the feeling of finally being able to tie your own obi or making your first manju. It was about dinner outings after class, acai bowls before Taiko and playing zoo before public appearances. It was having someone to carpool with, re-glue your loose eyelash and help you practice your speech. It was having someone there to comfort you when you think you gave the worst answer at a public appearance. Having someone to vent to when you’re overwhelmed with deadlines and simply knowing that a few minutes with these 14 other girls could help you forget your bad day at work, the fight you had with your boyfriend or any other drama going on in your life.

It was learning the definition of unconditional love and support as your family and friends were willing to make you signs, do your laundry and cheer for you at every appearance. It was appreciating the countless volunteers that were willing to give up time with their family and their days off to make this opportunity possible for you. And it was realizing that the true rewards were not the ones found listed in the back of the book. It was the poster of cherry blossoms with handwritten thank you messages from a class of fourth graders and it was the appreciative smiles of seniors as you spend the afternoon teaching them origami and listening to the stories of their lives. It was realizing that the strong, confident Japanese-American woman you had become was a result of this amazing journey. To the members of the HJJCC, thank you for your commitment and for helping to make us the women we are. To the numerous sponsors, award donors and instructors, thank you for each year making it possible for young women to be a part of this unique experience. To our Sister City Courts, Hospitality Committees and Sister JC chapters, thank you for opening your cities and hearts to us and our families. We have been overwhelmed by your kindness and generosity. Thank you for the memories and for your friendship. To the Catering Office and incredible staff at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, thank you for being the best employer, best colleagues and best cheering section

that anyone could ask for. Your support, understanding and friendship have made this experience possible. To my family and friends, thank you for your understanding, patience and your never-ending support. To my parents, I could spend an entire lifetime trying to repay you for all that you’ve done for me over the past two years and throughout my life and I would never come close. Thank you for your sacrifices, for your love and for affording me every possible opportunity. Gavin, thank you for being my strength and my voice of reason. I am a better person with you by my side. Words cannot describe the depth of my gratitude and love for you. Robb, through the ups and downs, we couldn’t have made it without your guidance. Thank you for always believing in us and most importantly for your friendship. Ash, Stace, Dawn, Jamie and Keri – I have learned so much from your passion, your spirit and your determination. I have been honored to be a part of this amazing team. Together the six of us can accomplish anything. From our hour long conversations in the driveway to hallways picnics and our weekly walks, I will always cherish each and every memory and I look forward to sharing twenty million more with all of you. Thank you to everyone that has been a part of this journey. I have truly been blessed.



56th Cherry Blossom Festival

Queen & Court Standing from left to right: Miss Congeniality Keri Haitsuka, Miss Popularity Jamie Lyn Migita, and Princess Dawn Yonemine. Sitting from left to right: First Princess Ashley Kaneshiro, Queen Trisha Tamaru, and Princess Stacey Fukuda. The 56th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen and Court are dressed in an Anne Namba original design. Photo courtesy of Mr. Steven Yamaki, Professional Photographer and owner of Images by Steven, a Silver Sponsor. 27


Court Thank You Messages As contestants we were inspired by the generosity of people we came across, and as the 56th Cherry Blossom Festival Court we continue to be inspired by these amazing individuals. From the support of the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce to the numerous volunteers, hospitality committees, and the Jaycee members of our sister chapters in Japan, we are truly grateful to all of the people who have made our experience so incredible. It is because of the sincere hearts of these individuals that this festival is able to continue each year. To our family and friends who have traveled with us through this unforgettable journey, thank you for your love and support. We’d also like to thank our fellow contestants for the wonderful memories. It was a stressful six months, but we made it through together with lots of laughs, smiles, and food! Robb, thank you for having faith in us – our court would not be complete without you! As the 56th Cherry Blossom Festival Court, we feel blessed to have been given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and are honored to have represented the Japanese-American community in Hawaii.

First Princess – Ashley Kaneshiro This journey has turned out to be more than I ever could have imagined and a dream come true. Mom, Dad, Kellen, and Fran- There are no words that could adequately describe how grateful I am for your unconditional love unwavering support. You are the perfect examples of all I aspire to be. Trent- You are my rock, I would not have made it through this year without you. You have treated me like a princess long before the title, I love you. To the Kaneshiro’s, Takai’s, Uechi’s, Kyono’s, Ogasawara’s, Pau Hana Pumpers, Chart and Aloha family, and friends- It is your encouragement that inspires me and has given me the strength to pursue my dreams. I am so appreciative of your overwhelming love and support. Trisha, Stacey, Dawn, Keri, Jamie and Robb- I am blessed to have shared this experience with you. I have learned so much from each of you and though our year is almost over, I know this is not the end. I will cherish the memories we have and look forward to the many to come. To all who have made this possible, I am forever grateful for this amazing opportunity. All my love, Ashley

Princess – Stacey Fukuda Black pumps: $30. Nude panty hose: $5. Fake hair for updo’s: $60. Being a part of the 56th Cherry Blossom Festival. Priceless. Representing the Japanese community in Hawaii as a member of the 56th Cherry Blossom Festival Court has been an honor and I am so grateful to have had this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Thank you to the people who have made my ride an epic one. Being able to share my experience with all of you has made it that much more meaningful. Mom & Dad, I made this decision alone but could not have made it through without your support & guidance. To my family & friends, thank you for supporting me in more ways than one. You never had to, but you always did, & for that I am grateful. To my ladies on the 56th court, thank you for the wonderful memories. I’ll take with me the silly things like tying bows with our toes, being a 2nd row hula dancer, & attempting to create a human pyramid. To the HJJCC, hospitality committees, sister chapters & numerous volunteers, this is not the last you’ll see of me. It is because of the positive experience you helped me to have that this festival will continue to be a part of my life. 28

Princess – Dawn Yonamine Mom, Grandma, Uncle Rand & the rest of my family & friends-- my foundation, my roots… You have guided me, encouraged me and held me up when I wanted to fall. Your strength and your love have taught me that anything is possible with you by my side! To Brandon & the Kurisu Family-- my inspiration, my wings… You were patient and you believed in me. You shared your compassion, support & encouragement when I needed it most. I am humbled and grateful to have you in my life! To Robb, the MANY HJJCC members, volunteers, & class instructors-you breathe the heart, spirit, & life into this festival. Being a Japanese American woman has new meaning in my life because of the lessons I’ve learned from each & every one of you! My CBF sisters-- “Don’t walk in front, I may not follow… Don’t walk behind, I may not lead… Just walk beside me and be my friend.” Thank you for all the unforgettable memories, the many snapfish photos, for sharing your hearts & for becoming my friends!

Miss Congeniality – Keri Haitsuka Growing up as a gosei, I did not truly understand the meaning of being proud to be a Japanese American. My journey with the 56th Cherry Blossom Festival has bestowed upon me more knowledge of my culture - past and present than I ever imagined I could gain. I am not only proud, but extremely honored to be a part of such as beautiful culture and festival. To my dad, mom, Sean, Lara, and the rest of my family, thank you for being there when I needed you most. Knowing that you loved me unconditionally allowed me to push myself farther than I thought was possible. To Mike, thank you for your patience and pep talks. You truly deserve an award for everything I put you through. To Kwi and Jen, thank you for traveling such a long way to celebrate along side me. To my friends and co-workers, thank you for listening to my countless stories and for understanding when my schedule got hectic. To my Cherry Blossom sisters, I am utterly grateful for the numerous once-in-a-lifetime experiences we have shared. Our journey has been unforgettable. I LOVE YOU ALL and couldn’t have done it without you!!!

Miss Popularity – Jamie Lyn Migita Mom, Dad, Kim, Nana & Pa: Thank you for your everlasting support, encouragement, and love. Danny: Thank you for believing in me and being so patient and understanding. You’ve been there for me through it all. Thank you for making me a better person. Wendy, Sean, and Kristie: My BFFs! Thank you for ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS being there for me. I knew I could count on you for anything…Life’s great when you have fabulous friends! Trisha, Ashley, Stacey, Dawn and Keri: the laughter, the tears, the memories, and all the “funny faces”, …Priceless. I’m blessed to have been able to share this experience with all of you. To the rest of my family and friends: Thank you for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime! The friendships, the experiences, the lessons learned, and the personal growth…I’ve truly had the time of my life! Without your support, none of this would have been possible. I could not have done it without each and every one of you. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU! 29

community service It was with the theme of the 56th Cherry Blossom Festival, “Magokoro o Komete - With a Sincere Heart” that we focused our efforts in giving back to the community. We devoted our time to helping others but walked away from each event with humbled hearts and a greater appreciation for life. Here is a highlight of some of the events we participated in.

American Heart Association Black Tie Blue Jeans

Black Tie Blue Jeans “Cardiovascular disease remains the leading killer in America. Everyday the American Heart Association is working hard to build healthier hearts and lives.” During my time as a part of the Cherry Blossom Festival, I found out that my dad’s girlfriend of 15 years had to have heart surgery. She had a double bypass and had one of her valves replaced in order to fix the heart murmur she was born with. Thanks to current research and technology, she has made a full recovery since then. By volunteering at the silent auction at the World’s Fair 11th Annual Black Tie Blue Jeans, we were able to take part in raising money for the American Heart Association, so that they can continue to fund cardiovascular research, strengthen cardiovascular care, and increase awareness in our community just to name a few. Guests had the opportunity to bid on hundreds of items donated for this cause, play carnival games, dance, and watch a Samadhi


show while enjoying a dinner buffet. This fundraiser has touched me personally and I know we all were honored to be there.

Bowl for Kids Sake

to do so in style. Brothers and sisters, big and small, along with avid supporters and sponsors of this local organization, gathered at Aiea Bowl for a day filled of fun, food, and strikes. We helped to MC at the event, serve food to hungry bowlers, and sell raffle tickets dressed in our “Grease” themed attire. Even with all the action on the lanes, the most memorable part of our day was being able to see grown ups and kids coming together - having fun with silly things like whoopee cushions, choreographing a dance routine, or running frantically to answer a trivia question in hopes of wining a prize. northern california cherry blossom festival, greater seattle japanese community queen pageant, nisei week festival

The 56th Court and the staff of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Honolulu at Aiea Bowl

Get ready! Set! Bowl!!! The 22nd Annual Bowl for Kids Sake event is a fundraiser put on by the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Honolulu. This year the event went Hollywood as bowlers and volunteers were asked to not only bring their “A” game, but

At the top of the city in San Francisco

Less than one month after our own coronation, we traveled to San Francisco to meet their new Queen and Court. Our first trip was filled with many firsts: our first parade and

origami workshop

Posing with Goofy in Los Angeles

our first experience with the amazing hospitality of our sister cities. One month later, we were off to Seattle where we were again greeted by our extended “Ohana” and beautiful weather! We tasted the delicious delicacies of the Northwest, visited the famous Pike’s Place Market, and attended their pageant as we welcomed the new Queen and Court. Our final trip came far too quickly as we traveled to Los Angeles in August. We participated in the annual Nisei Week parade, attended their coronation and welcomed in the latest addition to our unique family. A memorable trip to Disneyland capped off another wonderful trip. We are so appreciative of the countless volunteers from the Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles hospitality committees that made our mainland trips unforgettable! We cannot wait to welcome you to Hawaii in March!

Hidden amidst the hustle and bustle of tourist filled streets, the Waikiki Community Center offers programs and social services for families, senior adults, and children who live, work, and play in Waikiki. We had the pleasure of teaching an origami workshop at the Community Center. Our four “students” were very surprised to learn who we were and that the workshop was completely free!

Waikiki Community Center Origami Workshop

in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The training and competition also help them develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skill, and friendship. For us court members, the weekend of Cop on Top participation was one of those “feel-good” experiences, as we saw people put aside their own wants and contribute out of the goodness of their hearts.

We enjoyed an afternoon of making origami boxes and chatting about our time as a court and about their lives. And even though we were the “teachers,” we were the ones that learned a lot, and feel as though we were the ones that truly benefited from this wonderful experience.

Cop on Top For three whole days, Hawaii Law Enforcement officers sat atop Safeway stores throughout the islands, “refusing” to come down until they reached their fundraising goal of $10,000. We court members collected donations from generous patrons as they entered and exited the store. The proceeds from the event will benefit Special Olympics Hawaii, which provides sports training and athletic competition

Hui ‘Ilio 4th Annual Dog Walk No woofing around… except at the 4th annual Hui ‘Ilio dog walk held on June 22nd in Hawaii Kai! Dogs big and small, their owners, and vendors from around the island came to participate in the event. Hui ‘Ilio Hawai’i (the Hawaii Dog Group) was founded to promote safe and friendly places for dogs and their owners to play, and to promote

In front of Snoqualmie Falls in Seattle 31

responsible dog ownership. We were thrilled to be invited to participate in this event, working in partnership with an organization who, like the HJJCC is dedicated to bettering the community and believes in and relies on volunteers to make dreams come true!

Lanikai Bike Path 8K Fun Run The run is held in memory of Daniel Levey, who passed away after a hiking accident in 2003 at the young age of nineteen. His parents, Norman and Joyce, have put on this event for the past five years in celebration of his inspirational life. The run is especially meaningful to his family because this was the last run that Daniel had


participated in before he passed away. We were honored to be able to cheer on runners as they passed through the beautiful Lanikai neighborhood, assist in handing out awards and goodies, and support the Levey family in this great event. We all walked away that day humbled by the generous hearts of the Levey family and with a greater appreciation for the beauty in life.


about the festival

In 1953, a small group of courageous and dedicated individuals organized the first Cherry Blossom Festival in Hawaii. These individuals were the founding fathers of the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce (HJJCC), who each invested $1,000 of their own money to create the Festival, which has become one of the most recognized ethnic Festivals in the state. This year, the HJJCC is proud to present the 57th Cherry Blossom Festival. While times have changed, the purpose of the Festival continues to be the perpetuation of Japanese culture, and to enrich the lives of young women of Japanese ancestry. It is with great pleasure and a strong sense of tradition that we present this year’s Festival. This is more than just a Festival, it is an opportunity that allows people to grow through their experiences, learn about and celebrate their culture, and create lifetime memories. The theme for this year’s Festival is “Perpetuating Our Traditions”. Within the Cherry Blossom Festival, traditions have been passed down for 57 years. Because of the generosity of our sponsors, award donors, instructors, and volunteers, the Cherry Blossom Festival will continue to flourish as a venue to perpetuate the passing of the traditions for generations to come. In the months ahead, the festival will include many activities and events, such as the Public Appearances of the Queen Contestants at our local shopping centers, the Heritage Fair with its demonstrations and exhibitions of Japanese arts, and the Festival Ball at the Sheraton Waikiki, where a new Cherry Blossom Festival Queen and Court will be selected. We invite you to join us at all of our events!

PUBLIC APPEARANCES January 31, 2009 – Kahala Mall February 7, 2009 – Windward Mall February 21, 2009 – Pearlridge Center Uptown March 7, 2009 – Ala Moana Center 34

In the weeks leading up to Festival Ball, Public Appearances will be held at several of Oahu’s major shopping centers. The purpose of these appearances is not only to introduce this year’s contestants and promote the festival, but also to showcase aspects of Japanese culture to the community. Each appearance will start promptly at 12:00 noon. Cultural entertainment, such as performances of taiko (Japanese drums), karate (Martial Arts), or odori (Japanese dance), will herald the beginning of the program. This will be followed by the introduction of 56th Queen Trisha Tamaru and the Court, who will share their festival experiences. Next is the introduction of the twelve young ladies participating in this year’s festival. Following this, the emcee will ask each of the contestants to answer a question on a variety of subjects. Through this question and answer experience, each contestant will gain valuable practice in sharpening her public speaking skills, developing her poise and increasing her self-confidence.

FASHION SHOW Bored with your closet? Find inspiration at the 57th Cherry Blossom Festival Fashion Show, with designs modeled by this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Contestants and the 56th Cherry Blossom Festival Court. Tired of hemming your jeans? View Allison Izu’s new line of denim designed especially for petites. Additional pieces from Split Obsession will show you how to create looks appropriate for both the office and a night on the town. Searching for something soft, feminine, and romantic? We’ll have the latest tops and signature dresses from Cinnamon Girl, perfect to wear on a warm, spring day. Craving couture? Anne Namba will showcase a variety of designs to drape you in elegance, including stunning evening wear – a must-have for every woman – and select pieces from her coveted bridal line. Please join us on February 15th, 2009 at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Ballroom Convention Center. Doors open at 11 am; show begins at 12 pm. Come early to explore our

silent auction; a treasure trove of pampering. Pick up a beautiful diamond pendant from Elle Couture Jeweller, classic Coach bags, accommodations at a luxury Waikiki hotel, fine dining at several of Honolulu’s top restaurants, and more. Tickets are priced at $55. For more information, visit

HERITAGE FAIR The Heritage Fair is a wonderful family event that celebrates Japanese culture. Join us for a program of cultural entertainment which will include Hanayagi odori performances, Dennis Oshiro Music Studio singers, appearances by the current Queen Contestants, and the 56th Queen and Court. For you shoppers, the fair will feature clothing, food, accessories, and collectibles. Educational exhibits will feature children’s games, arts and crafts, and demonstrations. This year, the Heritage Fair will be affiliated with the JTB Honolulu Festival and held on Saturday, March 14, 2009, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Hawaii Convention Center. Admission to the fair is free to the public. Parking is a flat rate of $5.00. Bring the whole family and enjoy the sights and sounds of our Japanese culture.

CONTESTANT RECEPTION Since its inception and inclusion in the festival, this informal reception has been a crowd favorite. If you love to dance, mingle and have a great time in the company of family and friends, we have the perfect venue to do that! This year’s contestants and event organizers invite you to attend our Contestant Reception at Pearl, Honolulu’s chic afterhours ultra-lounge, on Sunday, March 1, 2009. Tickets will be available both presale and at the door. Prizes will also be raffled off throughout the evening. Come kick back and enjoy an evening of fun!

FESTIVAL BALL The Queen Contestants’ Cherry Blossom Festival experience will reach its pinnacle at the Festival Ball on Satur-

day, March 28, 2008 at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel Hawaii Ballroom. Following the 3:30 p.m. ballroom opening, dinner and a formal evening of fanfare and tradition will ensue, highlighting Japanese culture at its best. On this exciting evening, twelve young women will showcase their dedication, perseverance, and hard work from the last six months of learning the delicate finer aspects of their heritage. Dressed in elegant gowns and authentic silk furisode kimonos, each contestant will demonstrate the poise, self confidence, and stage presence that furtively defines Japanese culture. Moreover, specifically selected to compliment each contestant, the kimonos are flown in especially for the festival by Diamond Sponsor Watabe Wedding. Before the night is over, a panel of distinguished judges will select the new Cherry Blossom Festival Queen, First Princess, and three Princesses. Miss Popularity and Miss Congeniality will also be announced and join the new Queen, First Princess, and Princesses as the 57th Cherry Blossom Festival Court. The Festival Ball will also be the last official appearance of the 56th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen, Trisha Heather Shiori Tamaru and the members of the 56th Court. We invite everyone to join us for this very special evening.

GOLF TOURNAMENT Get into the golfing craze and join us for a round at the Pearl Country Club on Thursday, April 9, 2009. The tournament will feature a 3-man scramble format with the shotgun start at 12:30 p.m. Following your day on the links, join your fellow golfers for the “19th Hole” and an awards banquet in the clubhouse. Shine up your clubs, hit the driving range, dust off your greatest golf stories and join in the fun at the Cherry Blossom Festival Golf Tournament. For more information, admission fees and order forms for the events of the 57th Cherry Blossom Festival, visit the festival website at 35


Opening Ceremony

Hawaii Prince Hotel January 24, 2009 10:00 am

Kahala Mall Public Appearance

January 31, 2009 12:00 p.m.

Windward Mall Public Appearance

February 7, 2009 12:00 p.m.

Fashion Show

Hyatt Regency Hotel February 15, 2009 11:00 a.m.

Pearlridge Public Appearance

February 21, 2009 12:00 p.m.

Contestant Reception

Pearl Ultra Lounge March 1, 2009 5:00 p.m.

Ala Moana Public Appearance Heritage Fair w/Honolulu Festival Festival Ball Golf Tournament

March 7, 2009 12:00 p.m.

Convention Center March 14, 2009 10:00 a.m. Sheraton Waikiki March 28, 2009 4:00 p.m. Pearl Country Club April 9, 2009 12:30 p.m.


calendar of events

the 57th contestants In the pages that follow, we proudly present the twelve contestants of the 57th Cherry Blossom Festival. As is tradition, each contestant is also pictured with her parents or significant family member to symbolize the strength and support that family provides. In addition to her education and professional background, we asked each contestant to answer the following question:

“What one tradition would symbolize your family’s perpetuation of Japanese culture through the generations?” 36

57th Cherry Blossom Festival

Queen Contestants Back Row (left to right): Traci-Ann Miwa, Tanya Masunaga, Kristen Teves, Tasha Firestone, Kelly Nakano, Kristi Akiona, Gina Maeda, Jessica Taum, and Janelle Uchida Front Row (left to right): Jenna Gyotaku, Kristine Wada, and Kristen Chung The 57th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Contestants were photographed by Mr. Steven Yamaki, Professional Photographer and owner of Images by Steven, a Silver Sponsor. 37

Kristi Lehua Aiko Akiona

Kristen Akiko Chung



Allen and Lois Akiona King Kekaulike High School, 2003 Gonzaga University, 2007 University of Hawaii at Manoa, anticipated graduation 2009 Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcast and Electronic Media, Journalism Anticipated Master’s Degree in Communications Graduate student in Communications To one day own a reputable special events agency in Hawaii. Longboarding, turbo kickboxing/shadow boxing, community service and collecting frogs.

Darrell and Elynne Chung Mililani High School, 2002 University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2007 Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising Remote Pilot Operator To begin a career in the field of fashion and eventually to establish my own business. Playing golf, working out at the gym, and playing taiko.

My great-grandparents came from Yamaguchi-ken, Japan and brought to Hawaii, the “Kagami-Mochi” which is a tradition that our family continues to perpetuate today. We display the kagami-mochi on the lucky paper, with the moroba leaf and tangerine Each year, on March 3rd to be exact, my family reminds me of my first hatzu-zekku, orange with leaf on top as our family’s New Year offering to the gods. It is also our or first Girl’s Day, when my grandmother proudly presented me with a gorgeous way of bringing good fortune to our home and business. Members of our family embroidered silk Japanese doll she hand picked. This custom has been in existence in gather at grandma’s house a few days before the new year to make the kagamiJapan since the 17th century and is perpetuated in Hawaii by many Japanese–Ameri- mochi. It is a wonderful time for family members to work together to make the two can families. Japanese dolls, which are handed down through the generations are round mochi, one smaller than the other for each family’s kagami-mochi display. We symbols of hope that ensure future happiness and healthy lives meant for the young always make extra mochi for grandma to prepare at Sunday family dinners using recipients who are daughters, and granddaughters. More than two decades ago, my kinako which everyone enjoys after the new year celebration is over. grandmother put her wishes for health and happiness for me in that doll, and each year my family displays this doll to remind me that I am fulfilling my grandmother’s hopes. This is my way to honor her and all that the tradition of hina matsuri stands for.


Tasha Maile Yuriko Firestone

Jenna Natsue Gyotoku



Robert and Elisha Firestone Aiea High School, 2001 University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2007 Bachelor of Education Teacher To be a positive contributor to society. Guide my students toward achieving their dreams. Attending New Hope Christian Fellowship, surfing every Sunday, running races, hiking, reading.

One tradition that symbolizes my family’s perpetuation of Japanese culture is our New Year’s Day celebrations. Our family would gather at my grandparent’s home to enjoy delicious Japanese cuisine and delicacies such as ozoni, sekihan, kuromame, tempura, sushi, kazunoko, and sashimi. This was a special day for all of us to enjoy the well prepared dishes, enjoy each other’s company, watch the Japanese “Red and White” singing contest, reflect on the past year, and look forward to the upcoming year together. Bachan passed away two years ago, but the New Year’s tradition that represents our Japanese culture carries on with my mother and father, my two sisters, and myself. We will fondly reminisce the special times we had during our New Year’s celebrations with Bachan and Jichan, and keep the New Year’s tradition alive as our family continues to grow.

Jay and Jodie Gyotoku Roosevelt High School, 2005 University of Hawaii at Manoa, anticipated graduation 2009 Dental Hygiene Dental Assistant To become a dental hygienist, with hopes of brightening smiles and live life to the fullest. Dancing and fashion

Growing up in a Japanese family, I was surrounded by Japanese culture, from bowing when greeting others to learning how to dance at bon festivals. Like my mother, I was enrolled in Japanese school to further immerse myself in the Japanese culture, which is the start of a tradition in our family, as I will continue to do with my children. I was very honored to have this opportunity because many are not given the chance to learn the value of their Japanese culture/heritage, as Hawaii is a melting pot, with various cultures.


Gina Emiko Maeda

Tanya Ichiko Masunaga



Gerald and Helen Maeda Pearl City High School, 2001 University of the Pacific, 2008 Doctor of Pharmacy Anticipated Master’s Degree in Business Administration, 2009 Pharmacist I hope to use my knowledge and skills to better myself, my community and health care professions in general. Trying new recipes, sewing, rocking out to my iPod and going to the gym with friends

Keith and Amy Masunaga Moanalua High School, 2001 University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2007 Bachelor of Education Teacher To inspire my students to love learning as much as I do Reading any book, attending UH football games, piano, learning about anything I can

The one tradition that would symbolize my family’s timeless perpetuation of the Japanese culture through the generations is the New Year’s ozoni. Every year since Ever since I was little, the New Year holiday season meant making mochi with my before I was born my family has eaten ozoni on New Year’s Day. My grandmother family. Even though we did not have the traditional mochi pounder, I would watch prepares all the ingredients on New Year’s Eve. While leaving all the lights on (to in wonder as the tiny white rice grains magically became soft mochi. Then I would ward off bad spirits) in our house, she stands in the kitchen cutting, boiling, and admire my grandma as she skillfully portioned out pieces and, with quiet patience, peeling. When I was younger I used to watch her before we left to play fireworks showed the grandchildren how to fill them with tsubushi-an. As I grew older, I learned and would fall asleep to her still preparing everything for the next day. It’s a special more about our family New Year’s traditions: how to cook nishime, zenzai and ozoni dish because we only get to eat once a year, my grandmother prepares it, the taste is as well as exchanging kadomatsu and kamimochi displays. New Year’s became a from our family, so it makes it taste that much better and makes me feel that much time to share of ourselves, our food and our culture with friends and family. Now closer to not only my family, but also to our culture. I am the one who portions out the mochi pieces for cousins and friends to fill with tsubushi-an. I am humbled - and honored - to continue a tradition that has been handed to me from generations past.


Traci-Ann Toshiko Miwa

Kelly Kimiko Nakano



Howard and Janice Miwa Pearl City High School, 2001 University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2006 University of Phoenix, 2007 Speech Master’s Degree in Secondary Education Math Teacher Help students overcome math phobia Scrapbooking, beading, soccer, bowling, and shopping

A Japanese tradition my family perpetuates is the Omisoka. On the eve of the New Year, we gather at my parents’ house to welcome the New Year. We start the New Year by getting rid of the old and bring in the new. We do a clean sweep of the house, osouji, to purify everything so that my family can start anew. One of my fondest memories on Omisoka, is witnessing my grandma be the food police to make sure we all ate soba noodles. My grandma told us we should eat the soba noodles so that it will provide us with longevity. In the festivities of starting anew, the buckwheat in the soba cleans our digestive systems to cleanse our bodies. The simplicity of cutting the soba resembles the ease of getting rid of any bad luck or misfortunate events that happened through the past year.

Edmund and Diane Nakano Aiea High School, 2001 University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2005 Hawaii Pacific University, 2007 Bachelor of Business Administration Accounting Masters of Business Administration Accountant To become a Certified Public Accountant in working at helping businesses in Hawaii, and to live a balanced healthy life Being a UH sports fanatic, uni sushi connoisseur and buffet eating champion.

A lifelong tradition in my family that began even before I was born was traveling to my grandmother’s house in Hilo to celebrate New Year’s with my maternal family. Currently, we have four generations of our family that come together for this festive occasion, in which the eldest generation is my 91-year old grandmother. Each year our family takes part in several Japanese traditions such as eating food, like sekihan (red bean rice), kuromame (black beans) and ozoni (hot mochi soup). We also set out our kagami mochi (mochi with a tangerine on top) and of course play fireworks. These festivities are symbolic for celebration and good luck for the New Year. This lifelong tradition has instilled in me the importance and value of family in my life and how it is important that we continue to perpetuate the Japanese culture for generations to come.


Jessica Keikihiwahiwaokalani Kiyome Taum

Kristen Kaleou’iokalani Akemi Teves



Mary Elizabeth and Burnette Brown Jr. Sacred Hearts Academy, 2001 University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2006/2007 Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resources Management Bachelor of Science in Animal Science Humane Investigator and Lab Assistant Own and operate a ranch that provides horse therapy for mentally and physically challenged people. Traveling, fishing, four-wheeling, hiking, diving, horseback riding, camping, and playing with my dog.

Curiosity is powerful. At a tender age, I embarked on a quest to find who I was and where I came from. Despite being born and raised in a family with diverse cultural traditions, I still felt empty. I decided to seek my biological father, and as a young adult I made contact. I wondered if knowing him would change things, but longing for more answers pushed me to learn more about my Japanese heritage. Aware of the Cherry Blossom Festival, I gathered the courage to venture into unfamiliar territory. Hopefully this journey will open many doors to great opportunities in finding a Japanese tradition. By choice it would be to learn the art of taiko. The beautiful beating of a sacred drum will sound power, every beat will clarify unity and perfection. In that moment perpetuation of Japanese culture will strive throughout the generations of my family.


Neil and Myra Teves Waialua High School, 2004 University of Hawaii at Manoa Kapiolani Community College, anticipated graduation 2009 Speech Pathology & Audiology Interpreting Bank Teller To earn a Master’s degree in Speech Pathology, as well as a Certificate in Interpreting. Family gatherings, going to the beach, scrapbooking, baking, working out, spending time with friends

The tradition that most symbolizes my family’s perpetuation of Japanese culture through the generations is our celebration of shogatsu. Every year, in preparation of the New Year, we decorate the entrance to our home with kadomatsu, clean the entire house, and wear new clothing as a way of leaving the “old” behind and welcoming in the New Year. On New Year’s Eve, we enjoy the toshikoshi soba that my mother prepares. Then on New Year’s Day, my family gather together to enjoy ozoni and kazari. Celebrating this event has been a valuable part of my life. Practicing these cherished customs throughout my life has taught me to appreciate and value family and heritage. When I have my own family, I will instill in my children the importance of carrying on traditions that my family has taught me. I want them to understand and be proud of their heritage.

Janelle Lyn Kadooka Uchida

Kristine Akemi Wada



Raymond and Janice Uchida Iolani School, 2005 University of Hawaii at Manoa, anticipated graduation 2009 Animal Science/Pre-Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Technician; Student Aquarist To become a doctor of veterinary medicine and to have a positive impact on the life of at least one stranger. Life and living: breathing in the outdoors and consuming all flavors in good company.

From a tender age I’ve gazed in awe of the lantern washed waters of the Ala Wai for Toro Nagashi, yet years had to pass until I could truly appreciate the genuine beauty of Obon season behind its aesthetic appeal. The traditions performed during Obon season are for the commemoration of the spirits of our ancestors. However, greater than the honor we show for those departed is the respect that we continue to offer and strive to pass on to the generations to come. Respect, not only for our ancestors, but for all who provide nourishment and enrichment in our lives is a pillar of Japanese culture that I, through my family and mentors, have come to view as necessary to a happy life. It is a humbling virtue that I will continue to practice in honor of those who have graciously passed it on to me.

Ronald and Li Ann Wada Iolani School, 2002 University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2006 Bachelor of Arts in English and Japanese Student To travel the world, publish a novel, and learn something new each day. art, books, crime dramas, crossword puzzles, fashion, food, travel

Warm and earthy, the year-end soba that my grandma cooks every December 31st is my favorite family tradition. As Grandma stirs the dashi, Mom chops green onions and my aunties lay out dishes. We all crowd around the television, eyes watching the festivities, hands holding chopsticks and big bowls of broth, and mouths inhaling thick breaths of noodles. Those noodles, eaten in prayer for long life, represent familial ties and link the past and future. Though I spent the past two years abroad, cooking my own soba on New Year’s Eve kept me connected to family in Hawaii. Someday I will cook soba for my children and grandchildren, knowing that it connects them to their culture, tradition, and family.


Celebrating 10 Years of Multicultural Diversity

in the Cherry Blossom Festival Ten years ago the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce instituted a significant change to the rules governing its Cherry Blossom Festival that would spark both controversy and discussion about Hawaii’s ethnic landscape. For the first time in 47 years, women who weren’t 100 percent ethnic Japanese and who didn’t have a Japanese surname were allowed to compete in the queen pageant. Among the major Japanese-American festivals, the Cherry Blossom Festival was the last to require 100 percent Japanese ethnicity. This rule change reflected the multicultural diversity in Hawaii’s Japanese community and opened the festival to a new generation of Japanese-American women. “The rule change was important because the festival queen program needed to better represent the JapaneseAmerican community, which was already multiethnic,” said Keith Kamisugi, who served as HJJCC president at the time and, along with festival co-general chairs Karlton Tomomitsu and Pono Chong, spearheaded the change. “Excluding hapa women of Japanese ancestry from the queen program was just wrong.” The first year of the rule change saw two contestants of mixed ancestry: Erika Buder and Alison Tasaka. There was a misconception that the rule change was made to boost participation numbers, which had been on the decline since the festival’s heyday in ‘50s and ‘60s. “It’s a myth,” Kamisugi said. “It’s true that less women were applying, but that was more a sign that we needed to do a better job keeping the festival relevant to the community.” 44

The rule change wasn’t embraced by everyone. Some critics argued that women of mixed ancestry didn’t have classical Japanese features or wouldn’t be accepted by the chamber’s sister chapters and the Imperial Household in Japan. One sponsor expressed some hesitation with the change. “People were afraid of change and understandably so,” Kamisugi said. “No one really knew how the rule change would impact the festival. But many of us believed it was the right thing to do and we needed to implement it on principle.” In the end, everyone involved, from the board to the sponsors, supported the new rule, realizing that while change is difficult, it’s also inevitable. “It was the right thing to do,” said Chong, who served as co-general chair of the festival at the time. “There are many young women who are not 100 percent Japanese, but they practice and promote the culture more than those who are. Practice of one’s culture is a lifestyle as much as it is about ethnicity.” Two years after the rule change, the first queen of mixed ancestry — Vail Matsumoto, who’s one-fourth Italian — was crowned. The following year Catherine Toth became the first queen without a Japanese surname. And the next year, during the 50th anniversary of the festival, the first part-Hawaiian queen — Lisa Okinaga — was named. “The rule change has been extremely positive for the festival, if only that it better represents the JapaneseAmerican community in Hawaii,” Kamisugi said. “After 10 years, I suspect many people don’t give the multiethnic issue much thought. And that’s good.”

57th Cherry Blossom Festival

Cultural Award Longtime supporter of the Cherry Blossom Festival, Lillian Yajima believes in the importance of perpetuating the Japanese culture. She even helped write a book about it. Yajima, who helped write “Kokoro: Cherished Japanese Traditions in Hawai‘i,” started the Cherry Blossom Festival Cultural Awards, which are given to contestants at the end of the festival. These awards offer the opportunity for the contestants to further their understanding of and appreciation for a specific aspect of the Japanese culture. We are proud to continue the tradition for the 57th Cherry Blossom Festival. “It’s an added thing the girls get, more than just learning how to dress in a kimono,” said Yajima, whose daughter, Lenny Andrew, was the 34th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen. “If (younger generations) continue to do everything American, they’re going to lose their identity.” During the festival the contestants are exposed to various cultural activities including taiko, odori, and Japanese tea ceremony. But due to their hectic schedule, most of these cultural classes give the contestants only a small sample of the Japanese culture. Seeing how interested the contestants have been in learning about their heritage, Yajima thought it would be important to give them a chance to take additional classes once the festival was over. Thus, she created the Cultural Awards. Yajima finds out what the contestants are most interested in and finds instructors willing to provide these additional classes. Past contestants have taken classes in calligraphy, Japanese business etiquette, taiko, ikebana, odori, and even shamisen. These awards will be presented at Festival Ball on March 28, 2009. A list of award donors will be in the Festival Ball program. The Cherry Blossom Festival is humbled by and grateful to Mrs. Lillian Yajima and her immense contributions to helping perpetrate the Japanese culture.

The Traditions continue at Shirokiya...

Best Wishes to the

57th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival


Violet Tokie Niimi was the first Cherry Blossom Festival Queen. This award is given in her honor.

Green Sea Turtle lesson brought to life

Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship In 1953 Violet Tokie Niimi was crowned the first Cherry Blossom Festival Queen. Though she sadly passed away in 2001, after a happy and fulfilling life, her legacy will live on. Knowing the festival was celebrating its golden anniversary, her son, Dr. Scott Oishi, proposed a great idea. He recounted how his mother spoke fondly of the festival and her experience as a participant in the landmark event. Since the festival was so dear to her, and because she was a lifelong educator, Dr. Oishi felt that a scholarship award would be the ideal way to honor his mother’s memory. Thus, the Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Award was established. At the 56th annual Festival Ball in March 2008, Keri Haitsuka, who was also crowned Miss Congeniality on the new court, was announced as the recipient of the $5,000 scholarship award. “As a second grade student at Heeia Elementary School, I aspired to become an elementary school teacher. Since then, I have returned to my alma mater to teach first grade in my very own classroom. As an educator, I strongly believe in being a life-long learner and empowering students to become life-long learners as well. Although I thought my dream had truly been fulfilled, my passion for education did not end there. The Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Award has given me the opportunity to continue my education. I intend to attain my Master of Education Degree in Curriculum Studies at the University of Hawaii. I now live each day knowing that dreams are possible. With Dr. Scott Oishi’s tremendous generosity and continued support of the Cherry Blossom Festival, I am excited to continue living out my dream.” – Keri Haitsuka This year the 57th Cherry Blossom Festival is proud and privileged to continue this tradition by selecting one of the contestants to receive the $5,000 scholarship award. A committee of three judges, comprised of prominent members of the community, and Dr. Scott Oishi will make the decision on which contestant should be given the award to continue their education. The recipient will be selected based on her educational excellence, essay submission, character, and community service efforts. The Cherry Blossom Festival and the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce extends their deepest appreciation to the Oishi family for their generosity and support. And while we know that she cannot be here with us physically, we know her legacy — and spirit — live on in this festival. 46

Keri Haitsuka, 2008 Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship winner.



the Judges Rose Baraquio graduated from University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1997 with a BA in Broadcast Journalism. She now works full-time at Hawaiian Airlines as the Manager of Consumer Affairs. As a part-time job, she was co-producer and co-host of the cable show “Living Local with the Baraquios” from 2004-2007. She was the lead singer on the album “Lost and Found,” released in November 2007. She will be releasing her debut solo Christmas album “The Gift” in November this year. Baraquio is a mother of two boys, Luke and Seth, ages 9 and 4, and is married to John Harman, Head Professional at Waialae Country Club.

Emi Hart is a professional singer and songwriter, born and raised in Hawaii. By creating positive messages through music, she hopes to teach young women about real beauty, self-love, and finding inner happiness. With a quirky adoration for the underdog, Emi Hart gathers inspiration for her songs from horrible teen movies, chocolate covered pretzels, and coffee. Look for the release of her first album in Spring 2009.

Chief Master Sergeant Stephen G. McConnell is currently assigned as Superintendent, 613th Support Group, Thirteenth Air Force, Hickam AFB, HI. He is the principle enlisted advisor to the commander on issues regarding the readiness, morale, professional training and quality of life for over 200 enlisted Airmen assigned to the 613th Support Group. The support group includes an Air and Space Communications Squadron, providing C2 systems for the 613th Air and Space Operations Center; an Operational Weather Squadron, providing combat-ready weather operations; and Operations Support Flight, providing facility management, unit deployment management, security programs, and ancillary training management. He graduated from Monrovia High School in 1980 and entered the Air Force on 26 October 1981. He is married to the former LeAnna Phillips of San Antonio, Texas. They have one son, Stephen, who is 24 years old.


57th Cherry Blossom Festival

Essay Contest Since 1995, the Cherry Blossom Festival has encouraged Hawaii’s high school students to participate in the annual Essay Contest. This contest helps promote an understanding and appreciation of how Japanese culture has influenced the lifestyle in Hawaii. All students in grades 9 to 12 attending a school in Hawaii are eligible for entry. This year, the Essay Contest received over 300 well composed and creative essays that answered the following question:

What one Japanese tradition in Hawaii best perpetuates Japanese culture? How has it influenced Hawaii’s past? How will it influence Hawaii’s future? Students addressed how various Japanese cultural influences essentially have inspired many of the things that we believe are truly “local.” Essay topics ranged from reminiscence of the Japanese sugar cane planting issei who influenced Hawaii’s pidgin English dialect; to traditional Japanese foods which have inspired “local” taste buds -- what was once a simple ball of rice or “musubi” has become Hawaii’s one and only “spam musubi.” A distinguished panel of judges volunteered countless hours to review and evaluate the essays submitted on content (originality/ creativity and relevance to topic), style (organization), and conventions (grammar and spelling) and selected the following winners of this year’s Essay Contest: First Place: First Runner Up: Honorable Mention:

Alissa Torigoe Sacred Hearts Academy Christinn Pacheco Sacred Hearts Academy Kathryn Lee Iolani School

The 57th Cherry Blossom Festival congratulates our top three essay finalists and extends our appreciation to every student who submitted their work. Without the participation of all the creative students and their teachers who gave of their guidance and time, and the judges who donated their expertise, the Essay Contest would not be as successful as it is today.

Omotenashi: About eight years ago I stayed the night at my friend, Mami Bun’s, house for the first time. Her mother, who was from Japan and knew very little English, made a great effort to treat me with kindness, converse with me when possible, and she even offered me a bag of treats when I returned home. Until the year they moved away from Hawaii, whenever I stayed the night at Mami’s house, Mrs. Bun made sure that I was comfortable and always sent me off with a treat. Through my visits to Mami’s house, I received my first glimpse at omotenashi, or hospitality. During the plantation days, the diverse blend of ethnicities present was the perfect setting for the beginnings of Hawaii’s status as a melting pot. The many cultures such as that of the Filipinos, the Chinese, the Portuguese and of course the Japanese, brought together their cuisine, language and traditions to create a culture unique to Hawaii. Most important of all was the tradition of hospitality, omotenashi in Japanese. Through hospitality, these cultures were able to open their arms to one another and bring each other into one another’s homes. With families being open to one another, cultures were introduced and it was through hospitality that Hawaii came to be. In Japan, it is considered impolite to show up to a host’s house without a small token of appreciation. One who does forget is considered tebura, or empty handed. In Hawaii, we can greatly compare this to a local tradition, potluck, when each person at a gathering brings a dish to share with everyone. Every year, my uncle and aunty host a Christmas party and the food table is as varied as the wrapping paper on the gifts. Dishes include vegetables, fish, chicken, noodles, and possibly more dessert choices than dinner choices. Each family brings something to contribute and recipes to share and pass on. Just as the first immigrants to Hawaii shared their many dishes and cultures with one another, the mem-

Hawaii’s Past, Present and Future

bers of my family get together every year at Christmas to share new culinary ideas and tasty recipes with one another. Not only on a familial level, Hawaii’s hospitality is known across the world as the “aloha spirit”. Aloha can mean love, peace, compassion and even hello or goodbye. Known as the Aloha state, Hawaii opens its arms to denizens of every country just as the first immigrants to Hawaii opened their minds to each other’s cultures. The hospitality of the first immigrants has created the “aloha spirit” that Hawaii is famous for. In the future, I see omotenashi continuing to affect the “aloha spirit” in great ways. Hawaii has made its industry on tourism and relies on hospitality. As soon as tourists arrive in our paradise, they are greeted with leis at the airport. They are greeted with the omotenashi of Hawaii that has been passed down for generations and has developed into our “aloha spirit;” loving and welcoming all who grace our Hawaii. Omotenashi will help build friendships and support the acceptance of different cultures as Hawaii continues to blossom like the lei presented to all those who visit. Through the forbearance of the first immigrants Hawaii has created its own melting pot that today has developed into a unique culture based upon the cultures of many countries. We continue to develop this culture and this aloha so that our descendants can continue to remember the tradition of omotenashi. I am proud to live in a state of hospitality. I am proud to be of fourth generation Japanese descent. I am proud that my great-grandmother and great-grandfather brought their own omotenashi to a Hilo plantation in the early 1900s. They were among the many innovators of the “aloha spirit” that we have all come to know and use in our everyday lives. In honor of my ancestors, I will continue to convey the “aloha spirit” and the tradition of omotenashi to all.

Alissa Torigoe is a 16-year-old junior at Sacred Heart’s Academy. She has attended Sacred Hearts Academy since the age of five and looks forward to her graduation in 2010. Alissa is an active participant in the school band, where she is a percussionist. Also, she has been playing the piano since the age of six. She enjoys sailing and other outdoor activities. Alissa plans to attend a 4-year college in hopes of furthering her knowledge in the Japanese language as well as developing her skills as an aspiring musician.


Essay Contest – 1st Runner Up, Christinn Pacheco

Japanese Traditions of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow “It’s not a Hawaiian thing or a Japanese thing. It’s not a Buddhist thing. It’s a ‘Human Thing’.” “Through the lantern floating ceremony, the sincere prayers of everyone are united… prayers for a future in which harmony exists among all people regardless of one’s race, religion or culture.” Hawai’i is known as the “Melting Pot” of all the cultures, a place where different cultures come together and strive in a harmonic balance. However, for some such as myself, Hawai’i can also be viewed as a beautiful mosaic. Like shards of glass, many cultures are woven together to create a magnificent work of art. Every shard is just as unique and beautiful as the next, with its differences complimenting each other wonderfully and harmoniously, and each shinning with the hope of a bright future. The past and traditions here act as the grout that holds them all together. A well-practiced tradition in Hawai’i, that has broken all racial borders and spanned across religious denominations, is the Japanese lantern floating. Lantern floating is a Buddhist rite, con-

ducted in order to pay respects to our ancestors and to comfort the spirits of the deceased. A Lantern Floating ceremony usually happens related to Obon, a 3-day period to honor the departed, but for the people of Hawai’i it is celebrated annually in May on Memorial Day. Although this tradition originated in Japan, it holds a relevant meaning to all kinds of people in Hawai’i today. There are many Japanese traditions practiced in Hawai’i, such as mochi making during the new years, and bon dances during the summer. But no other island tradition is as grandly attended and enjoyed as the Japanese lantern floating celebration. It brings people together, both dead and alive. During a Lantern Floating festival, candlelit paper and bamboo lanterns are individually set afloat on the ocean, a river, or lake, and are said to help guide the deceased back to the spirit world. The lanterns carry heartfelt prayers for loved ones and ancestors who have passed away, as well as, those who have sacrificed their lives in war, victims of ocean- related accidents, natural disasters, famine and disease. On these lanterns are inscribed names, pictures, small stickers, and decorations of what ever the floater wishes in memory of that person. Loved ones could even put a small snack on the lantern, or packets of pictures and memories shared. Also carried by these lanterns are the hopes for a peaceful future and good luck. The Pacific Ocean merges with every ocean and in essence

touches every shore around the world. Prayers of peace and happiness are sent out in hopes of touching every continent and blessing it for the future year. One doesn’t have to be Japanese to write a name on a lantern, or a Buddhist to say a prayer and float it on the ocean. A young Christian, Portuguese teenager could float a Japanese lantern and it would hold just as much meaning. People come from all over the world to send a prayerpacked lantern to the loved ones they have lost and wish for peace for those that are still alive. Among the tens of thousands of people that participate in the festival, families from Europe, Canada, and even Texas describe the same overwhelming feeling of love, peace, joy, and a deep sense of harmony. This event fills participants with a common understanding of loss and hope as well as a strong compassion for each other. This tradition is and will always be an important part of life in Hawai’i. It is just as important to keep this tradition alive and practiced here as it is in Japan, since Hawai’i’s future depends on the harmony of its people. For this moment there is no lines drawn between people and races. For one day, no one is richer or smarter, right or wrong. Differences are accepted, blended, and appreciated. This tradition is known for pulling down the walls built by religion and culture, and building bridges instead. Floating lanterns has given every culture a common thread to the hearts of mankind.

Essay Contest – Honorable Mention, Kathryn Lee

Too Sticky A salty but sweet aroma slithers through my two-story house, ascending from a large metallic pot, creeping up the staircase, and finally reaching the tip of my nose. Peaking my senses, I awake to a tantalizing scent of warmth and familiarity. Although I am tired from inviting in the New Year only six hours prior, I willingly trudge down the hallway to the dining room, dragging my feet that are covered with my oversized pajamas. As I reach the dining area, I observe a familiar sight, one that I am accustomed to seeing every New Years Day morning. My mother, hovering over a pot of broth, watches my sister, brothers, and father who are conversing at the dining room table. “Happy New Year”, she whispers before kissing me on the forehead, a gesture I have grown to expect. She reaches for a crimson stained bowl streamlined with golden streaks: my favorite bowl. Filling the bowl with the broth, she then decorates this iridescent palette with a sprinkle of mizuna, a slice of fish, and a hefty helping of mochi. 50

Alongside my mother, with both of our breakfasts in hand, we walk to the table and join the rest of our family, all of us happily enjoying the soothing ozoni and each other’s company. The practice of eating ozoni on New Years Day is a Japanese tradition that has been deeply entrenched in Hawaii’s society. As Japanese immigrants made their way to the islands, a land of hope and unexpected possibilities, they brought their culture and practices with them. The consumption of ozoni on New Years Day, a simple hot soup containing vegetables, fish, and mochi, was a customary practice for most Japanese immigrants. Yet, the power of community that the simple ozoni was able to engender has shaped the Japanese culture in the islands. As ozoni requires mochi, mochi pounding became a common New Years Eve activity. The steps to making ozoni, from the mochi pounding to the actual preparation of the soup and then the consumption of it, had the capability of bringing people together, banding them to form an ohana. As the purpose of ozoni, to bring strength and prosperity to its con-

sumers, not only benefited the individual, ozoni had an instrumental role in creating a Japanese community in the islands. In the same way, though current generations have lost sight of the deeper meanings of each ingredient in ozoni soup, ozoni will continue to play a part of Hawaii’s Japanese culture. As every New Year approaches, families band together to enjoy each others company, whether it be from the strenuous action of pounding perfectly soft mochi or the more relaxing act of consuming this comforting soup. Through each bowl of ozoni, the values of strength and prosperity will carry on, tying together the traditions of the past generations and making them a part of the future. Sitting at the table, I watch my family struggle with the consistency of the mochi as we all desperately try to separate the mochi from our wooden hashi. “It’s too sticky, mommy”, my five-year old brother complains, “I can’t break it”. Just like the mochi, my family is sticky: banded together, never to be broken.

Visiting Royalty Jill Hiraizumi

Alicia Isono Kagawa

Erina Tami Aoyama

68th Nisei Week Japanese Festival Queen

2008 Northern California Cherry Blossom Queen

49th Seattle Japanese Community Queen

Erisa Kazui

Megumi Yoshida

22nd Japan Cherry Blossom Queen

22nd Japan Cherry Blossom Queen


Japan Cherry Blossom Association In 1964, the year of the Tokyo Olympic Games, it became apparent that the cherry trees were being damaged by air pollution and development. This was the year that the Japan Cherry Blossom Association (JCBA) was established with the goal of protecting the existing cherry trees and encouraging the planting of cherry trees in Japan and around the world for future generations. For over 40 years, JCBA has planted more than three million cherry trees in 59 countries and provides for their ongoing care. The cherry trees signify the national pride and patriotism of the Japanese. They also symbolize peace and goodwill providing inspiration for all. In October 2008, the 56th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen and Court had the great honor of visiting with members of the JCBA in Tokyo. Along with the 22nd Japan Cherry Blossom Queen, the 56th CBF Queen and Court participated in the Japanese government’s Urban Greenery Campaign, where free flowers were given away in Ginza. Also, the Queen and Court were hosted at a reception dinner, where Fujiyasu Kimono presented Queen Trisha Tamaru with a gift of a furisode silk kimono. We are thankful for their support, and treasure the friendships we have made along the way.


Sister Chapters

of the honolulu japanese junior chamber of commerce Taiichiro Kobayashi President Odawara Junior Chamber

KOBE JCs Soichi Akagi President Kurashiki Junior Chamber


Yasuto Namba President Kojima Junior Chamber

SAN JCs The HJJCC continues to strengthen its longstanding relationship with Japan through five special sister chapters from Kobe, Odawara, Kurashiki, Kojima, and Tamashima. Each of these sister JC chapters have relationships spanning decades of cultural exchange and numerous friendships. The strong bonds of friendship between the HJJCC and the Kobe Junior Chamber (JC) extend over 30 years, and are renewed every year. The Kobe JCs make their annual visit to Hawaii in March, which allows them to participate in the Festival Ball as contestant escorts during the Western gown phase of the program. The Kurashiki, Kojima, and Tamashima JCs, collectively known as the San (3) JCs, visit Hawaii in the spring. In 2008, they visited with Honolulu Managing Director Wayne Hashiro, and enjoyed bowling, a picnic at Kapiolani Park, and karaoke

Hideki Akazawa President Tamashima Junior Chamber

with the HJJCCs. We will celebrate our 24th anniversary of our sister chapter relationship with the San JCs in 2009. The Odawara JC members visit Hawaii in June, when we will commemorate the 25th anniversary of our sister chapter relationship with them. Last June, they visited Governor Linda Lingle and helped with a service project at the Waikiki Community Center, along with spending time with the HJJCC members. During their week long stays in Hawaii, our sister chapters enjoy hosting activities which include welcome parties, sightseeing, visits with government officials, and other fun events. It is due to the hard work and contributions of the HJJCC members, current and past court members, and their families, who make these cultural exchange opportunities memorable and special.

Hiroaki Kamada President Kobe Junior Chamber

Kevin Yee President Hilo Jaycees





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TOKYO Tokyo, literally meaning Eastern Capital, is home to the Japanese Imperial family, the Imperial Palace, the 1964 Summer Olympics, numerous devastating earthquakes, the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the most extensive urban railway network in the world, and the Yomiuri Giants baseball team. Tokyo is rich in history and culture with much to offer! In Tokyo we met with the Japanese Cherry Blossom Association, where a dinner was held in our honor. We had the honor of meeting with one of their queens and two princesses, along with many other dignitaries. We joined one of their princesses the following day in Ginza, where we handed out potted flowers to promote greenery in the city. We also visited the Speaker of the Diet, Yohei Kono’s office, toured Meiji Shrine, and went sightseeing to Sensoji in Asakusa. One of the greatest moments was visiting with Princess Kiko-- a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Her warmth and sincerity seemed to greet us and “welcome us to Japan” with a royal reception as we visited her home on the grounds of the palace, observed the beautiful scenery, and engaged in conversation with her. This year, we also had the privilege and honor of meeting with Japan Travel Bureau, Shiseido, and Japan Airlines. Their continued support has been vital to the


longevity and traditions of our Festival here in Hawaii. It was so wonderful to have met with them in person to convey our deepest appreciation for all of their continued support!

ODAWARA We traveled away from the bustling city to our first sister chapter visit in the peaceful city of Odawara. At the train station, the JC members cheerfully greeted us with their warm hospitality. Our first stop was Matsubara Shrine where we received a blessing to keep us safe on our journey. We learned the art of yosegi (Japanese wood craft) and visited the famous Odawara Kamaboko factory, where we learned how to make two kinds of kamaboko and developed a greater appreciation for these arts. We enjoyed the peaceful city while staying at Hotel Yoshiike - a traditional Japanese ryokan. It was the ideal way to experience sleeping on tatami mats in yukata, the rejuvenating effects of the onsen, and yummy Japanese breakfasts. It was here where we enjoyed our first kaiseki dinner and watched geisha perform odori (Japanese dance). Competitive spirits emerged from each of us as we participated in a Go Cart tournament. After the race, we were treated to a delicious BBQ, where the JCs showed off their great chef skills. Although we were sad to leave, the memories and friendships made in this beautiful city will stay with us forever.

HIROSHIMA August 6, 1945 was the unforgettable day that the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. As we strolled through the city we were reminded not only of that devastating day, but of the perseverance and unity embraced by the Japanese community to rebuild such a beautiful city. We looked out at the Atomic Bomb Dome, which stood proud as a symbol of the drive to abolish nuclear weapons and to seek lasting world peace. We hung 1,000 cranes at the Children’s Peace Monument in memory of Sadako Sasaki and all the children who had their lives taken as a result of the atomic bombing. We bowed our heads before the cenotaph in the center of the Peace Memorial Park to pay our respects to the unending list of victims. Finally, we walked through the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, where we learned of the city’s history and were touched by stories, photos, and belongings of numerous victims. This experience is one we will hold in our hearts and memories forever. “This is our cry. This is our prayer. For rebuilding peace in the world.”

KURASHIKI, KOJIMA & TAMASHIMA From the moment we arrived in the beautiful city of Kurashiki, we were showered by the hospitality of the San JCs. Our first day was filled with delicious food, shopping at Deo Deo (a multi-level

Starting off our journey with a blessing at Matsubara Shrine


LEFT: At Kinkakuji – the Golden Pavilion

ABOVE: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

ABOVE: Welcome dinner at our ryokan, Hotel Yoshiike RIGHT: Getting ready for the tracks

RIGHT: Hanging 1,000 cranes at the Children’s Peace Monument

electronic store), and a gorgeous sunset. Luckily we made it just in time to see the sun setting behind the Seto Ohashi Bridge – the longest bridge in the world that carries both cars and trains. After watching the sunset, we ended the evening with the Welcome Party where we had a great meal and rocked out Japan style to our favorite karaoke songs. We were also fortunate enough to home stay with the families of three San JC members. It was nice to be able to get to know the families who so generously welcomed us into their beautiful homes. On our second day in Kurashiki, we visited Yoshimotosan’s confectionary shop where we all got the chance to hone our murasuzume - making skills. I think most of us were better at eating this delicious treat rather than making it, but making it made us more appreciative of what we’re eating. Later that day, we visited a temple where we learned about tea ceremony and also played some traditional Japanese games, both great ways to experience our Japanese culture first-hand. Our last day ended with the Aloha Party, where we got to eat nabemono and challenged several JC members in a one-on-one sumo game. Who knew that just two days in Kurashiki would leave such a lasting impression in our hearts. We are so grateful to the San JCs for their hospitality during our stay and making our experience so amazing. Disaster Prevention Museum


LEFT BOTTOM: Dressed in uchikake wedding kimono from Watabe Wedding

Atomic Bomb Dome

LEFT: Jamie and Ashley with the Kotani Family

ABOVE: At KBS Kyoto Television Station with Chairman Watabe FAR LEFT BOTTOM: Dawn and Keri with the Miyake Family


LEFT: Trisha and Stacey with the Oka Family




We were warmly greeted at Kyoto Station by members of the Watabe Wedding staff. There we were whisked off to the Rhiga Royal Hotel for a delicious lunch where we were able to meet Chairman Watabe. He graciously hosted us as we visited with the Vice Governor and Mayor of Kyoto. We had the unique opportunity of appearing on a television show as we shared the history of the Cherry Blossom Festival and our impressions of Japan and Kyoto. Later that evening, we were able to try on the beautiful uchikake (wedding kimono) and take photos in front of the gorgeous backdrop of the Ohkakuen garden. As we moved into a large tatami room that opened up to the same beautiful garden, we were treated to an amazing 13 - course kaiseki dinner.

Sola, one of the loveliest places to get married in the city of Kobe. Young women dream of holding their wedding there. Looking down upon beautiful Kobe from that mountainside retreat, we all thought how lucky we were to enjoy a dinner at such a magical place.

The next day, we took in the historical beauty of the city. We visited Kinkakuji, Ryoanji, and the Kyoto Handicraft center. We enjoyed lunch at a delicious soba restaurant and ended the day looking over the city from Kiyomizu Temple. We would like to thank Mr. Watabe for his generosity and hospitality. It was an unforgettable two days.


The Kobe JCs took us sightseeing in their city. We passed through Chinatown, visited the Kawasaki Good Times Museum (which exhibits real products such as the Shinkansen, airplanes, and jet skis) we also saw an Ikebana (floral arrangement) display, which is a disciplined art form in which nature and humanity are brought together. After visiting the Disaster Prevention Museum and witnessing what the residents of Kobe endured during the Great Hanshin Earthquake, one has to be amazed at how quickly and effectively they worked together, to rebuild the city. And on our last night there, we ate freshly pounded mochi and had a chance to try Kobe beef! Oh how that Kobe beef literally “melted” in our mouths! It was such a treat!!


Eating freshly pounded mochi


behind the scenes by Leilani Tan

Shelly Kawamoto Contestant Advisor

Kenny Endo Taiko Artist Taiko Center of the Pacific

Joni Tanimoto Contestant Advisor

Pamela Futa-Campbell Public Appearance Training Instructor

Dr. Dennis M. Ogawa Japanese History Instructor

Urasenke Foundation

Chair and Professor American Studies Dept. Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa


It appears that in life, the number 12 holds special significance and meaning. This year, as the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce celebrates the 57th (5+7=12!) Cherry Blossom Festival, twelve contestants will grace the stage of the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel and blossom before your very eyes on the magical evening of March 28, 2009. What unfolds at Festival Ball is only one stop on the journey these young women have taken as contestants. As this year’s Contestant Coordinator, I witnessed firsthand the personal growth and deep appreciation for the Japanese culture that each one developed. Many people aided the contestants in the discovery of their culture and of themselves. By generously lending their expertise in their

Susan Panis Noreen Masaki Cosmetics Instructor Cosmetics Instructor Shiseido of Hawaii

Yuko Miskolczy Kimono Instructor

Shiseido of Hawaii

Watabe Wedding

Hiromi Peterson Calligraphy Instructor

Owner and Photographer of Images by Steven

Betty Okubo Tea Ceremony Instructor

welve signs of the zodiac; twelve numbers on the face of a clock; twelve members on a jury panel; twelve pairs of ribs in the human body; twelve standard keys on the dial pad of a telephone; twelve roses in a bouquet.


Steven Yamaki Souvenir Book Photographer

Mrs. Lillian Yajima Manju and Origami Instructor

Asako Shimazu Joanne Ching Japanese Business (Hanayagi Emigaku) Etiquette Instructor Odori Instructor

individual fields, these Festival supporters helped each contestant as she embarked on a number of classes that focused on personal development and cultural exposure. Their experience premiered with Japanese History, a class taught by the esteemed Dr. Dennis Ogawa, a University of Hawaii professor recognized and honored for his scholastic achievement and expertise in the field of Japanese American Studies.

Nelson Nakagawa Public Speaking Instructor

Patti Nakagawa Public Speaking Instructor

attorney Ms. Asako Shimazu, who provided tutelage on the art and science of Japanese Business Etiquette. The contestants practiced introducing themselves in Japanese, exchanging business cards, and learning the proper way to interact in a culture so similar, yet so very different, from our own.

Before they could come up for breath, the contestants posed for the portraits you see here in the Souvenir Book, expertly captured by Steven Yamaki, who graced us not only with his keen eye for photography, but his quirky wit and adorable pup.

What better way to avoid gaffes when doing business in Japan? We consulted local

What’s light, flaky, and orange all over? A Jack-O’-Lantern manju, of course! Ask any of the contestants to show you how to make one. Through the loving guidance of Mrs. Lillian Yajima, a longtime supporter of the Festival, the contestants crafted these yummy treats just in time for Halloween. Mrs. Yajima opened her home to everyone and also gave

the girls a lesson on folding paper into

a beautiful origami box—the perfect size for holding small treasures. Shiseido Cosmetics (America), Ltd., through the artistic talent of Susan Panis and Noreen Masaki, offered a crash course on skincare and makeup application. For some, this was their first time wearing eyeshadow and mascara, and every young woman left the class armed with an arsenal of beauty goodies and tips on how to take good care of her skin and look her best, no matter the situation. Any fears over public speaking that may have plagued the contestants this year were assuaged by the ever-professional Nelson and Patti Nakagawa. This husband and wife team stepped up to the challenge of tackling the Festival’s first-ever Speech Training classes. Their mission: to help prepare the contestants answer impromptu questions and deliver the personal speech you’ll hear on Festival Ball night. All without fainting. Hopefully. Grace, poise, beauty. These are the things an audience comes to expect when they watch a Cherry Blossom contestant take the stage. Two left feet, erratic movements, and slouchy posture is usually what Pam Futa-Campbell is faced with when she first meets the contestants! Credit Pam for the transformation you see in your daughter, sister, niece, or girl

friend—for years she has imparted her knowledge to a countless number of contestants, all of whom have walked away from her classes standing a little taller, and a lot less clumsy. Classes on Calligraphy, Tea Ceremony and Odori were shared with the contestants through Hiromi Peterson, Betty Okubo and the Urasenke Foundation, and Joanne Ching and the Hanayagi Dancing Academy. Traditions centuries old were passed on to the contestants and were truly the epitome of this year’s Festival theme, “Perpetuating Our Traditions.” Learning to put on a kimono is a difficult task on its own. Walking in one? Nothing short of impossible. But through patience and steadfast training, Yuko Miskolczy and the staff of Watabe Wedding brought the contestants up to speed. And as icing on the cake, the contestants have the honor of wearing furisode silk kimono at Festival Ball, each of which has been individually selected and flown in from Japan for the lucky twelve. Don-tsu-don-tsu-don-don. The beating of those taiko drums will echo the beating of the hearts of the contestants on Festival Ball night, thanks in no small part to Kenny Endo and his troupe from the Taiko Center of the Pacific who mercilessly prepared the contestants for the opening taiko number.

ishly given of themselves so that everything can come together for this very special Festival. Heartfelt thanks go especially to Shelly Kawamoto and Joni Tanimoto, my two Contestant Advisors who provided me with much love, support, and uncensored humor. The three of us proved that when you take an attorney, an orthodontist, and an engineer and throw them together, miracles can happen! To Cat Toth—a kindred spirit who first crossed my path 16 years ago in freshman English, and whom I discovered is just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. To Corday Feagins—the big sister I never had, who spearheaded the Festival with the perfect blend of organization, class, and style. The number of volunteers who emerged out of the woodwork to return to the Festival is a testimonial to the loyalty she has fostered amongst the people she has touched in her life. To my partner in love, life, and crime-busting, Kory Young— thank you for always being my number one fan. You make me a better person than I ever could be on my own. Finally, to the twelve contestants: my fervent hope is that these few short months will have touched your life forever. Thank you for adopting me as your Chinese mother, the one who might scream and scold and nag you until the very minute you step on stage. But remember—it is only because, from the very beginning, I wanted the best for you. Go forward and do great things. Then come back, and share it with others.

In the English language, twelve is the number of greatest magnitude that has just one syllable. And throughout this year’s Festival, I have constantly been reminded of this by the strength of the sheer number of volunteers and people behind the scenes who have unself57

AWARDS* QUEEN’S AWARDS Queen’s Trophy Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce (57) Queen’s Sash Lenny and David Andrew, 34th CBF Queen and 40th CBF General Chair (2) Queen’s Tiara Wayne Yagi, 37th President HJJCC (9) Queen’s Perpetual Scepter Japan Airlines (54) Executive Class Roundtrip Ticket to Japan Japan Airlines (45) Hotel and Travel Arrangements in Japan JTB Hawaii, Inc. (45) 50,000 Yen in Travelers Checks for Japan Trip First Hawaiian Bank (2) Hosting in Kyoto Watabe Wedding Corporation (39) Furisode Kimono Fujiyasu Kimono Company (35) Roundtrip Ticket to San Francisco for the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival Tyler and Loretta Yajima (15) Roundtrip Ticket to Seattle for the Greater Seattle Japanese Community Queen Pageant Jonathan Murai, 57th HJJCC President (2) Sonya Kimura, 55th CBF General Co-Chair (2) Catherine Toth, 49th CBF Queen and 55th CBF General Co-Chair (2) Hotel Accommodations in Los Angeles for the Nisei Week Japanese Festival Devon Nekoba, 54th HJJCC President Steven Kaneko, 55th HJJCC President Brenda Nomura & Darren Ota, 54th CBF General Co-Chairs (2) Hotel Accommodations and Travel Arrangements in San Francisco for the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, Seattle for the Greater Seattle Japanese Community Queen Pageant, and Los Angeles for the Nisei Week Japanese Festival Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce (2)


Roundtrip Ticket to Los Angeles for the Nisei Week Japanese Festival Laurence Omura (2) Crown Pendant and Chain Elle Couture Jewelers (1) 14k Gold Cherry Blossom Emblem Pendant Obun Hawaii, Inc. (14) Anne Namba Original Design Dress* Anne Namba Designs, Inc. (11) Floral Bouquet at Festival Ball Watanabe Floral, Inc. (2) Pair of Earrings 48th Cherry Blossom Court (9) $50 Gift Certificate Images by Steven (1) $20 Gift Certificate Hide-Chan Restaurant (2) $20 Gift Certificate The Wedding Cafe (1)

FIRST PRINCESS’ AWARDS First Princess’ Trophy Benihana of Tokyo, Inc. (33) First Princess’ Sash Robb Taone, 52nd President HJJCC & 53rd CBF General Co-Chair (6) Sandy Parilla, 53rd CBF General Co-Chair (5) First Princess’ Tiara Robb Taone, 52nd President HJJCC & 53rd CBF General Co-Chair (6) Sandy Parilla, 53rd CBF General Co-Chair (5) Hosting in Kyoto Watabe Wedding Corporation (30) $500 Gift Certificate for Chiropractic Services Yoza Chiropractic (23) Louis Vuitton Business Card Holder Pono Chong, 51st President HJJCC & 47th CBF General Co-Chair (6) Karlton Tomomitsu, 47th CBF General Co-Chair (6)

14k Gold Cherry Blossom Emblem Pendant Obun Hawaii, Inc. (14) Anne Namba Original Design Dress* Anne Namba Designs, Inc. (11) Floral Bouquet at Festival Ball Watanabe Floral, Inc. (2) Pair of Earrings 48th Cherry Blossom Court (9) $50 Gift Certificate Images by Steven (1) $20 Gift Certificate Hide-Chan Restaurant (2) $20 Gift Certificate The Wedding Cafe (1)

PRINCESSES’ AWARDS Princesses’ Trophies Nippon Golden Network and Oceanic Cable (26) Sharene Urakami, 53rd HJJCC President, 49th General Co-Chair and 50th CBF General Chair (1) Japan-America Institute of Management Science (1) Princesses’ Sashes The Honorable Neil Abercrombie, U.S. Congressman (18) The Honorable Mazie Hirono, U.S. Congresswoman (3) Princesses’ Tiaras The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye, U.S. Senator (7) Alan Okimoto, 45th CBF General Chair (4) Hosting in Kyoto Watabe Wedding Corporation (30) 14k Gold Cherry Blossom Emblem Pendant Obun Hawaii, Inc. (14) Anne Namba Original Design Dress* Anne Namba Designs, Inc. (11) Floral Bouquet at Festival Ball Watanabe Floral, Inc. (2) Pair of Earrings 48th Cherry Blossom Court (9)

Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii Family Membership Bundle Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii (2)

$50 Gift Certificate Images by Steven (1)


$20 Gift Certificate Hide-Chan Restaurant (2)

Miss Congeniality’s Trophy Kevin and Corday Feagins, 43rd CBF Miss Congeniality & 57th CBF General Chair (1)

$20 Gift Certificate The Wedding Cafe (1)

Miss Congeniality’s Sash The Honorable Daniel K. Akaka, U.S. Senator (7)


Miss Congeniality’s Tiara Michael Matsuo, 42nd CBF General Chair (7)

Miss Popularity’s Trophy Lillian Noda Yajima (20)

$500 Gift Certificate for Chiropractic Services Yoza Chiropractic (23)

The following awards have been generously donated to all of the 57th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Contestants:

Miss Popularity’s Sash The Honorable Daniel K. Akaka, U.S. Senator (18)

Hosting in Kyoto Watabe Wedding Corporation (30)

Cosmetic Courses Shiseido Cosmetics (America), Ltd. (49)

Miss Popularity’s Tiara Michael Matsuo, 42nd CBF General Chair (7)

14k Gold Cherry Blossom Emblem Pendant Obun Hawaii, Inc. (14)

Instruction in and Use of a Furisode Kimono Watabe Wedding Corporation (30)

Executive Class Roundtrip Ticket to Japan Japan Airlines (45)

Anne Namba Original Design Dress* Anne Namba Designs, Inc. (11)

Pageant Training Pam Futa Campbell (12)

Hotel and Travel Arrangements in Japan JTB Hawaii, Inc. (45)

Floral Bouquet at Festival Ball Watanabe Floral, Inc. (2)

Pageant Gown Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce

Hosting in Kyoto Watabe Wedding Corporation (30)

Pair of Earrings 48th Cherry Blossom Court (9)

Appearance Dress Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce

14k Gold Cherry Blossom Emblem Pendant Obun Hawaii, Inc. (14)

$50 Gift Certificate Images by Steven (1)

8” x 10” Color Portrait Images by Steven (24)

Ladies’ Citizen Wristwatch Margie’s Jewelers (1)

$20 Gift Certificate The Wedding Cafe (1)

Three Years Gift Subscription Hawaii Pacific Press (16)

Anne Namba Original Design Dress* Anne Namba Designs, Inc. (11)


One Pound of 100% Kona Coffee Country Samurai Coffee Company (10)

$25 Merchandise Gift Certificate Kaimuki Dry Goods, Ltd. (48) Floral Bouquet at Festival Ball Watanabe Floral, Inc. (2) Pair of Earrings 48th Cherry Blossom Court (9) $50 Gift Certificate Images by Steven (1) $20 Gift Certificate The Wedding Cafe (1)

Semifinalists’ Trophies: The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye, U.S. Senator (7) Hawaii Hochi, Ltd. (20) Tamashiro Market (18) Russell Iwamura, 45th President HJJCC & 46th CBF General Chair (11) Alan Okimoto, 45th CBF General Chair (9) Kirk Tengan, 49th President HJJCC (9) Leo Asuncion, 50th President HJJCC & 51st CBF General Chair (6)

Floral Bouquet Watanabe Floral, Inc. (9) $20 Gift Certificate Gyotaku (1)


* A single prize will be awarded in the event of multiple titles. ( ) signifies the number of years donated. {The above list of awards for the Queen, First Princess, Princesses, Miss Popularity, Miss Congeniality, Semifinalists and Contestants may be subject to change. The final and complete listing of awards will be printed in the Festival Ball Program.}

Glenn Yokoyama, 42nd CBF (5) Edmond Wong, 42nd President HJJCC (4) 14k Gold Cherry Blossom Pendant Stan & Helen Shinkawa (16) 59

57th Cherry Blossom Festival

Honorary Advisors

Donovan Dela Cruz Honolulu City Council Member

Blair M.T. Odo, Ph.D. Executive Vice President & COO, Japan-America Institues of Management Science


Yohei Kono President, Japan Cherry Blossom Association

Ford Chinen President, Hawaii United Okinawan Association

Ronald Hayashi Eric Martinson Lenny Yajima Andrew Dennis K. Kanemori Chairman of the Board, Chairman of the Board, President & Executive President, United Honolulu Japanese Japanese Cultural Director, Japanese Japanese Society of Chamber of Commerce Center of Hawaii Cultural Center of Hawaii Hawaii

Warren Luke Paul Yempuku Chairman of the Board, President & Publisher, Pacific & Asian Affairs Hawaii Hochi, Ltd. Council

Robyn Furuya Executive Vice President, KZOO Radio

Ritsuko Seta President, Japanese Women’s Society of Honolulu

Ruth M. Ono, Ph.D. Dr. Scott Oishi, M.D. Emeritus Vice President, The Queen’s Health Systems

Joanne Ninomiya President, JN Productions

Past Presidents, Queens & General Chairpersons 1949 1952

Robert Sato President

1958 6th Festival

William Kawato President

Jayne Kuwata Queen

Donald K. Iwai General Chairman

1959 7th Festival

1953 1st Festival

Clesson Chikasuye President

Violet Niimi Queen

Takaaki Nakata General Chairman

Teruo Himoto President

Lorraine Kirihara Queen

Kenneth Nakamura General Chairman

1954 2nd Festival

Theodore Tomita President

Anna Tokumaru Queen

1960 8th Festival

Sam Okinaga President

Harold Kometani General Chairman

Shirley Fujisaki Queen

Edwin Watanabe General Chairman

1955 3rd Festival

Takaaki Nakata President

Marjorie Nishimura Queen

Hideo Kawano General Chairman

1961 9th Festival

Bert Tokairin President

JoAnn Yamada Queen

Thomas S. Sakata General Chairman

1956 4th Festival

Conrad Akamine President

Molly Ishida Queen

Tad Yajima General Chairman

1962 10th Festival

Masato Kamisato President

Janet Nishino Queen

Lawrence Sugiyama General Chairman

1957 5th Festival

Clyde Shimada President

Carol Saikyo Queen

Peter Mitsumori General Chairman

1963 11th Festival

Thomas S. Sakata President

Joyce Mizuo Queen

Dixon Mugiishi General Chairman


Past Presidents, Queens & General Chairpersons 1964 12th Festival

Charles Kato President

Vivian Honda Queen

Conrad Sasaki General Chairman

1970 18th Festival

Geminiano Arre, Jr. President

Katherine Horio Queen

Norman Hashimoto General Chairman

1971 19th Festival

1965 13th Festival

Donald Doi President

Ann Suzuki Queen

George H. Arakaki General Chairman

Carl Yamamoto President

Gail Kubota Queen

Walter Omori General Chairman

1966 14th Festival

Herbert Shimabukuro President

Sandra Shimokawa Queen

1972 20th Festival

Ron Nagano President

George Kakigi General Chairman

Rae Tanaka Queen

Glenn T. Shigemura General Chairman

1967 15th Festival

Charles Ushijima President

Gwen Nishizawa Queen

Kenneth Hasegawa General Chairman

1973 21st Festival

Earl Tanaka President

Jill Matsui Queen

Gen Nishimura General Chairman

1968 16th Festival

Lionel Tokioka President

Janice Teramae Queen

Roy Murakami General Chairman

1974 22nd Festival

Richard Karamatsu President

JoAnn Noborikawa Queen

Robert H. Miyaji General Chairman

1969 17th Festival

James Hara President


Amy Fukuda Queen

Terril Takeshita General Chairman

1975 23rd Festival

Gen Nishimura President

Ann Yoshioka Queen

Tak Ueda General Chairman

1976 24th Festival

Richard Bauske President

Myrah Higa Queen

Cliff Yara General Chairman

1982 30th Festival

William Petti President

Jody-Lee Ige Queen

Steve Honda General Chairman

1983 31st Festival

1977 25th Festival

Wayne Ishihara President

Deborah Kodama Queen

Richard Karamatsu General Chairman

Dennis Oshiro President

Gayle Koike Queen

Raymond Ono General Chairman

1978 26th Festival

Eric Matsumoto President

Sharon Tomasa Queen

1984 32nd Festival

Donn Tanaka President

Glenn Yamada General Chairman

Lisa Nakahodo Queen

Raymond Urabe General Chairman

1979 27th Festival

Thomas Sakamoto President

LeAnne Higa Queen

Nevin Harada General Chairman

1985 33rd Festival

Thomas Doi President

Joanne Hirano Queen

Matthew Miura General Chairman

1980 28th Festival

Kenneth Chang President

Francene Kondo Queen

Dennis Oshiro General Chairman

1986 34th Festival

Dale Nakasone President

Lenny Yajima Queen

Gerald Oyasato General Chairman

1981 29th Festival

Gregory Yukitomo President

Lori Ann Mizumoto Queen

Fred Ota General Chairman

1987 35th Festival

Matthew Miura President

Marlene Sato Queen

Terrence Iwamoto General Chairman


Past Presidents, Queens & General Chairpersons 1988 36th Festival

Wayne Yagi President

Lisa-Ann Nakano Queen

Gerald Oyasato General Chairman

1994 42nd Festival

Robert S. Morita President

Kendelle Yamamoto Queen

Michael Matsuo General Chairman

1995 43rd Festival

1989 37th Festival

Darryl Kam President

Lori Matsumura Queen

Earle Oda General Chairman

Duane M. Fujiwara President

Laurie Toma Queen

Gary T. Shigemoto General Chairman

1990 38th Festival

Phyllis Yuen President

Lani Sakamoto Queen

1996 44th Festival

Russell Iwamura President

Carlton Saito General Chairman

Kymberly Rae Furuta Queen

William Akamine, Jr. General Chairman

1991 39th Festival

Allan Yokoyama President

Sharon Kadoyama Queen

Allan Yokoyama General Chairman

1997 45th Festival

Andrew Wang President

Cheryl Koide Queen

Alan S. Okimoto General Chairman

1992 40th Festival

Garrett Toguchi President

Lesli Yoshida Queen

Lenny Andrew General Chairman

1998 46th Festival

Sheri Chun President

LoriJoy Morita Queen

Russell Iwamura General Chairman

1993 41st Festival

Edmund Wong President


Dori-Lyn Hirata Queen

Tom Yamachika General Chairman

1999 47th Festival

Keith Kamisugi President

Kirk Tengan President

Lori Pono Chong Karlton Murayama General Co- Tomomitsu Queen Chairman General CoChairman

2000 48th Festival

Leo Asuncion President

Vail Matsumoto Queen

2005 53rd Festival

Steven Kaneko President

Mike Inouye General Chairman

Brooke Hasegawa Queen

Sandra Parilla General Co-Chairman

Robb Taone General Co-Chairman

2006 54th Festival

2001 49th Festival

Pono Chong President

Lori FujikawaCasey President

Catherine Toth Sharene Urakami Michael Inouye Queen General General Co-Chairman Co-Chairman

Desiree Yamamoto Queen

Brenda Nomura General Co-Chairman

Darren Ota General Co-Chairman

2002 50th Festival

Robb Taone President

Lisa Okinaga Queen

Sharene Urakami General Chairman

2007 55th Festival

Jonathan Murai Richelle Nakata Catherine Toth President Queen General Co-Chairman

Sonya Kimura General Co-Chairman

2003 51st Festival

Sharene Urakami President

Heather Suehiro Queen

Leo Asuncion, Jr. General Chairman

2008 56th Festival

Justin George President

Trisha Heather Shiori Tamaru Queen

David M. Kaneko General Chairman

2004 52nd Festival

Devon Nekoba President

Meredith Kuba Queen

Neysa Kanemura General Chairman


08-CPB-1080A CherryBlossomV2 11/14/08 2:59 PM Page 1

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Strong communities come from strong roots. We're proud to do our part in supporting this year's Cherry Blossom Festival.


Member FDIC

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cbf t-shirt

This year’s t-shirt design by local graphic designer Lauren Hara features an origami crane, a symbol of longevity, to represent the theme, “Perpetuating Our Traditions”. A person that folds one thousand of these origami cranes is believed to have their heart’s desire come true. The contemporary design reflects how traditions are upheld and fused with modern times.

B R I G H T C HILD DESIGN Lauren Hara, Owner

The Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce and the 57th Cherry Blossom Festival Steering Committee would like to send out

Congratulations to the 57th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Contestants and our most sincere

Thank You

to our sponsors, award donors, festival supporters and volunteers 70

Applause Wendy Abe Robynne Adams – Salon Nanea Allen & Lois Akiona Ala Moana Center Lenny Andrew Neal Arakaki Big Island Candies Mary Elizabeth & Burnette Brown Jr. The Butik Norine Cabaltera Victor Cabaltera Pamela Futa Campbell Chart House Joanne Ching (Hanayagi Emigaku) Bobby & Marian Chun Darrell Chung Elynne Chung Cinnamon Girl Tanna & Bryson Dang Kenny & Chizuko Endo Tina Enoki Kevin Feagins Greater Seattle Japanese Community Hospitality Committee Robert & Elisha Firestone Jay & Jodie Gyotoku Halekulani Hotel Leiton Hashimoto Hawaii Herald Hawaii Hochi Hawaii Pacific Press Hawaii Prince Hotel Hawaii United Okinawa Association Hilo Jaycees Hilton Hawaiian Village Honolulu Country Club Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort & Spa Mitch & Ann Inouye Lance Ishibashi

The Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce and the 57th Cherry Blossom Festival extends their deepest gratitude to the numerous organizations, businesses and individuals who help to make the festival a success. The festival would not be possible without their generosity, dedication and hard work. In addition to our corporate sponsors (pages 20-21), award donors (pages 58-59), honorary advisors (page 60), the people behind the scenes (pages 56-57), and advertisers (page 72) we would like to acknowledge the following organizations, businesses and individuals for their contributions to the festival. We apologize if we missed anyone.

Island Insurance Companies Jason Ito – Sheraton Waikiki Japan Cherry Blossom Association Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii John Dominis Kahala Mall Reynold Kam Gerald & Terry Kaneshiro Kathy Kiehm Matsuo Kinjo-Ryu Taisho-Koto Hawaii Chapter Kobe Junior Chamber Kojima Junior Chamber Kurashiki Junior Chamber Donna Kusumoto KZOO Radio Wedge Lee Leis by Ron Gerald & Helen Maeda Noreen Masaki Keith & Amy Masunaga Gary Matsudaira Menehune Mac Allan & Tanya Migita Yuko Miskolczy Colin & Sandy Mitani Craig Mitani Howard Miwa Janice Miwa Miles Mizumoto Susan Morita Earl Mostoles Kendra Murray – Dave & Busters Nelson & Patti Nakagawa Edmund & Diane Nakano Dale & Lawton Nakata Kyle Nakayama – Luana Hills Anne Namba Heather Nekoba New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel Nisei Week Japanese Festival Hospitality Committee

Eric Nishioka Jean Nishioka Hamilton Niwa Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival Hospitality Committee Lance Oba Odawara Junior Chamber Dr. Dennis Ogawa Alan Okimoto Betty Okubo Sumiko Oshiro Pacific Beach Hotel Susan Panis Jerry Park Pearl Country Club Pearl Ultra Lounge Pearlridge Center Hiromi Peterson Roy’s Restaurant Andrew Shimazaki Asako Shimazu Starwood Hotels & Resorts Waikiki and Hawaii John “JT” Tamaki Roy & Sharon Tamaru Tamashima Junior Chamber Neil & Myra Teves Raymond & Janice Uchida Ray Urabe Urasenke Foundation Ronald & Li Ann Wada Windward Mall Sam Wong - Kilauea Recreation Center Lillian Yajima Alan Yamada Steven Yamaki Ray Yamamoto Glenn Yokoyama


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LIST OF ADVERTISERS American Savings Bank (37) Basic Design Concepts (1) Benihana (25) Central Pacific Bank (56) Dr. Shelliann Kawamoto (1) Elle Couture Jewelers (1) Finance Factors (54) First Hawaiian Bank (40) Gyotaku by Naoki (4) Gyotaku Japanese Restaurant (6) Hawaiian Host (1) Images by Steven (24) Japan Airlines (55) JTB Hawaii (34) Kyo-ya Company, LLC (46) Marukai Wholesale Mart (3) Obun Hawaii Group (18) Queen’s Medical Center (22) Shirokiya (31) Shiseido Cosmetics (America) (48) Taiko Center of the Pacific (9) The Wedding CafÊ (3) Watabe Wedding (21) () indicates the number of years as an advertiser [

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57th Cherry Blossom Festival Fifty - Seventh Cherry Blossom Festival Watashitachino Dentou Wo Eien Ni – Perpetuating Our Traditions

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57th Cherry Blossom Festival Souvenir Book  
57th Cherry Blossom Festival Souvenir Book  

The Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the longest running ethnic celebrations in the State of Hawaii and is currently accepting contestant a...