East Hawaii Hiroshima Kenjin Kai annual meeting on Feb. 8

The East Hawaii Hiroshima Kenjin Kai will celebrate the New Year with its annual luncheon meeting to be held on Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin Sangha Hall.

Please join the Kenjin Kai in welcoming the exciting Year of the Rat. According to the Chinese zodiac, it is believed that those born in the Year of the Rat are considered to be wise, clever, successful, optimistic and energetic, so they are never without friends or admirers. Thanks to their strong intuition, Rat year people can easily adapt themselves to new environments and they exhibit great problem solving skills. They are kind, charming, and prone to perfection and will work hard to achieve goals. They may appear calm and collected, but they can also be very aggressive and restless.


A short business meeting conducted by incoming President Gareth Makino will begin at 10:30 a.m. Beiju honorees, those members who will accomplish reaching the auspicious age of 88 in 2020, will be recognized before the New Year’s luncheon: Kinuyo Isemoto, Takeshi Kawamoto, Florence Kubota, Yaeko Kunishige, Michie Kuwaye, Mitzi Nakano, Ruth Ouye, Asako Tanaka, Lillie Tsuchiya and Maria Yano. Family members and friends of the honorees are encouraged to attend the luncheon.

The entertainment this year will feature a mini Kohaku, Red and White Song Festival, with men and women competing for the team title.

Short reports by the 2019 East Hawaii Hiroshima Kenjin Kai scholarship recipients will be given by Meghan M.B.Y. Nagai, daughter of EHHKK members Michael and Sylvia Nagai, is a freshman attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa majoring in marketing; and Kara Yoshiyama, daughter of Lance and Joanne Yoshiyama, and granddaughter of EHHKK member Carol Yoshiyama, is a freshman attending Pacific University in Oregon to pursue a doctor of optometry degree.

Information on the educational scholarships given to children and grandchildren of EHHKK members and applications will be available at the luncheon.

Reports by the Charis Cook and Arren Leung, the 2019 East Hawaii Hiroshima Kenjin Kai delegates to the Hiroshima International Youth Exchange Program, will also be given.

Charis is the daughter of EHHKK members Vaughn and Sylvi Cook; and Arren is the son of EHHKK member Ellen Sylvestre.

Sponsored by the Hiroshima Prefectural Government, the international exchange program to Hiroshima last July/August included a visit with Gov. Hidehiko Yuzaki, Japanese cultural activities, a visit to a high school, a homestay experience, and interaction with students from Hiroshima and delegates from Hawaii, the U.S. mainland and South America.

Overseas students with ancestral ties to Hiroshima are invited to enrich their understanding and knowledge of Hiroshima through cultural experiences. Highlights of this trip included attending the Peace Memorial Ceremony on Aug. 6, 2019, held in front of the Hiroshima Peace City Memorial Monument erected in the Peace Memorial Park to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city and presenting 1,000 origami cranes at the Sadako Sasaki statue in the Peace Memorial Park. Sasaki was a young girl who died of radiation poisoning while folding 1,000 cranes. The Hawaii delegates folded the cranes in a rainbow of colors to honor Sasaki’s memory and promote world peace. Information on this program will also be available at the luncheon.

Shinnen Enkai co-chairs Michelle Soga and Taylor Escalona, along with their committee members, welcome and invite all those with ancestral roots in Hiroshima or interest in Hiroshima and Japan, to attend the luncheon and join the organization. Members are encouraged to renew their membership dues.


“Please join us in celebrating the Year of the Rat on Saturday, February 8. We welcome our members, Beiju recipients and family, guests and new members. Please help us preserve our rich heritage, history and culture by joining the EHHKK organization!” said Soga.

The New Year’s Luncheon cost is $20 per person and includes lunch prepared by Alan Onishi. Ticket information was mailed out to members. For tickets or membership information, please call Tommy Goya at 989-5953, Jon Arizumi at 896-8172, or Gareth Makino at 443-4597.

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