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August 2019 Oshirase

President’s Message

For Seventy years the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii (JCCIH) has supported local business while promoting Japanese values through the building of relationships and keeping to our core values of Kahiau & Okage Sama De. All of which could not be done without the support of our Members, Board of Directors, Committee Chairs, Staff and countless volunteers!!

In June, was our 69th installation of our Officers & Directors and the celebration of the 20th anniversary of our sister chamber relationship with Higashi Hiroshima where Chairman Kihara and several guests flew over to help celebrate such a milestone.

In July, we had a wonderful Goji Kara partnering with Hawaii Island Adult Care, Inc. and a very successful Tanabata (Festival of the Stars) honoring the 20th anniversary of the Subaru Telescope.

We look forward to a new member orientation function as well as more Goji Kara’s in the upcoming future.

Thank you again to our members, volunteers and staff that help make the chamber what it is today, we couldn’t do it without you!

Donn Mende
JCCIH, President



Kimono Fashion Show Models (JCCIH members & Subaru staff)

Annual Tanabata Festival and Subaru Telescope’s 20th Anniversary Celebration

On Sunday, July 7, about 2,500 local residents and visitors attended the celebration of Subaru Telescope’s20th Anniversary and the annual Tanabata Festival at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, which was beautifully adorned with many bright and colorful paper ornaments, big and small, hanging on walls and tall bamboo branches in the atrium and inside the exhibit hall. The free admission festival was made possible by a generous donation from Subaru Telescope and TMT-Japan. Jointly organized and implemented by Subaru Telescope, ‘Imiloa, Japanese Chamber of Commerce Industry of Hawai‘i (JCCIH), Hawai‘i Japanese Center, and Hilo Meishoin Tsukikage Odorikai, the grand fun-filled day included numerous activities, games, planetarium presentations, make and take crafts, kimono fashion show, kimono dressing, nagashi somen, taiko drum performances and don dance.

Ever popular Nagashi Somen

“It was a truly remarkable celebration and an awesome turnout! We are so pleased and thankful to the many people, from our community and from other countries, who came to listen and learned about Subaru Telescope’s history and accomplishments, discovered what Tanabata is all about, wrote their Tanzaku wishes, participated wide variety of fun activities and games and enjoyed the different performances,” said Imiloa’s Executive Director, Ka’iu Kimura. “The success was beyond our expectations and this clearly demonstrates what can be accomplished when different organizations in the community come together. The synergistic process and outstanding outcome have been extremely rewarding.”

Hilo’s Tanabata Festival originated in 2014 through JCCIH and Subaru Telescope. “Dr. Nobuo Arimoto, director of Subaru Telescope at that time, presented the festival idea to JCCIH’s Education Committee. His goal was to create an event that would help connect Subaru Telescope’s staff with members of the community,” according to Immediate Past President, Steve Ueda. “The education committee chair at the time, Audrey Takamine, helped shape this idea into one of JCCIH’s most popular annual events,” added Ueda. For the past 4 years, JCCIH hosted an annual Tanabata event for its members in the form of a luncheon event. This year, JCCIH joined in the partnership to make the festival bigger and better. “We are honored to be a part of this festival and we look forward to perpetuating this event that celebrates both the Japanese culture and our fascination and love of the stars and astronomy. I am grateful to the many valuable JCCIH members who participated in the planning, prepping and working on day of event,” added Ueda.

Bon Dance

“Staff members of Subaru Telescope and their family members showed strong support of the celebration and we are very impressed and thankful for all the direct and indirect support from members of various community organizations. Everyone’s time and energy contributed to the amazing turnout and success of this first grand Tanabata Festival and Subaru Telescope’s 20th Anniversary celebration,” accordingly to Dr. Yuko Kakazu of Subaru Telescope. Guests enjoyed special presentation by Subaru Telescope Director Michitoshi Yoshida, Dr. Tomonori Usuda of TMT-Japan, and Dr. Kyoji Nariai. Lucky doorprize winners received VIP summit tour certificates, Maunakea books, and Subaru’s mascot “Subby” plushes.

“Over the past 3 years, the Hawaii Japanese Center (HJC) partnered with members of the Tsukikage Odorikai bon dance group and the HJC volunteers to stage the Tanabata Festival aimed at the community. This year, we are pleased to have participated in this joint project to reach an even larger audience,” said Arnold Hiura, president and executive director of HJC. For more information on HJC, visit



Photo Credit: Sarah Anderson

Hamakua Jodo Mission: Keeping History Alive

If you ask anyone to describe Hamakua Jodo Mission, the words breathtaking and serene are usually two words that come to mind. Not many would say historical, however a grass roots effort is underway to change this.

Hamakua Jodo Mission was built in 1896, under the direction of Reverend Gakuo Okabe, making it the first Buddhist temple in Hawaii. In 1918, the temple was converted into a kitchen and dining hall and a new temple was erected. This new temple was built by Umekichi Tanaka, a Japanese immigrant who was a miya daiku, a carpenter trained in building temples and shrines. His creation is an architectural marvel on many levels – from its design, construction (no nails) and intricately carved koa wood transoms and altar, it is a sight to behold.

There is a cemetery located behind the temple which is also the final resting place of Katsu Goto, a staunch leader of the Japanese community who lost his life fighting for the rights of immigrant laborers.

Photo Credit: Sarah Anderson

Hamakua Jodo Mission played an important role for the Issei on the HamakuaCoast and at one point boasted over 600 members. Unfortunately, like many Buddhist churches in Hawaii, membership has been dwindling over the years. A lot of the membe

Since Hamakua Jodo Mission’s livelihood is based on donations, the decline in membership is greatly impacting the church. When they were approached to do two collaboration projects with the NHERC Heritage Center in Honoka’a, it was an opportunity they seized. With the help of Nicole Garcia, an assistant at the Heritage Center and a UH Hilo Masters student, Hamakua Jodo Mission will be added as part of the center’s permanent Historic Honoka’a exhibit. In addition, the church is now featured on the History Pin website which can be accessed at: have passed on and the handful left are in their 80’s and 90’s. Many children and grandchildren of members who are no longer alive either have moved away, have different religious beliefs or have little interest in the church.

The goal of these projects is to get the community and younger generation familiar with the church’s historical value and reinvigorate interest, which will hopefully translate into new members, volunteers and donors.

For more information on Hamakua Jodo Mission, please contact Sandy Takahashi at:





Conducting Maunakea Public & Commercial Tour Capacity Study

OMKM has engaged Dr. Daniel M. Spencer, Professor of Tourism Management at the University of Hawaii School of Travel Industry Management to conduct a study on the public and commercial tour capacity for UH’s managed land on Maunakea. The study is the result of increased visitor use of the Visitor Information Station and Mauna Kea Science Reserve for sunrise and sunset viewing, sightseeing, educational programs, hiking and other purposes leading to concerns about the impacts on the natural, cultural and scientific resources on UH managed lands. Read more…



Poll shows 2-1 margin of support for TMT

…a new Civil Beat Poll shows a solid majority of Hawaii residents support the project.

By a more than 2-to-1 margin – 64% to 31% – of registered voters in Hawaii who were polled say they favor building the state-of-the-art telescope, most of them strongly in support. Only 3% say they are unsure while another 3% say the issue does not matter to them. Read more…


Words of Wisdom

“Those of us who think climate change is  a problem should be open about our beliefs and motives – but we also must search for common ground with unlikely allies.”

~ John D. Sutter, CNN Columnist, August 6, 2015.
Submitted by Tommy Goya

New Members
Andrew Adamson
Gemini Observatory
670 N. Aohoku Place
Hilo, HI 96720
Vanessa Carlson
Big Brother Big Sisters of Hawaii Island
P.O. Box 5254
Hilo, HI 96720
Emmeline de Pillis
University of Hawaii at Hilo
200 W. Kawili Street
Hilo, HI 96720
Jan Haraguchi-Abudo
KYD, Inc
2949 Koapaka Street
Honolulu, HI 96819
Chuck Koesters
Hilo Yacht Club
77 Laehala Street
Hilo, HI 96720




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