Skip to content

October 2019 Oshirase

President’s Message

We recently celebrated our 20th Sister Chamber anniversary with Higashi-Hiroshima and their 30th anniversary of the creation of their chamber in Higashi-Hiroshima. It was a wonderful celebration and would like to thank Chairman Kihara and everyone from Higashi-Hiroshima for their hospitality!!

Participants from JCCIH: Susie Dill, Layne Funai, Reiko Hamano, Roland & Jan Higashi, Craig & Audrey Takamine & Desiree & Donn Mende

We were able to catch-up on old relationships and build new ones, participate in the celebration ceremonies and even planted a cherry-blossom in honor of our sister chamber relationship.

My wife Desiree and I were also fortunate to be able to visit our sister City Yurihama as they celebrated the 20th anniversary of the merger of the three towns of Hawai, Togo & Tomari. We would like to thank Mayor Miyawaki and the people of Yurihama for their hospitality as well.

Over the past couple of months:

  • We had participated with the Japanese Community Association of Hawaii in their 80th annual Ireito Hoyo Memorial Service at Alae Cemetery
  • Signed the Oshima Island agreement with JCCIH & the County of Hawaii with Past Presidents Dwayne Mukai & Tommy Goya attending their Matsuri event.
  • Dwayne & Mike also attended the 23rd annual Ikaho Hawaiian Festival.

We look forward to the Taste of Hilo taking place on Sunday 10/20 at Sangha Hall from 1pm-3pm.


Donn Mende
JCCIH, President




Honoring Barry Taniguchi

The Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii (JCCIH) is deeply saddened by the passing of Barry K. Taniguchi.

Taniguchi was an active member of the JCCIH and served as President in 2003-2004. Taniguchi informed and educated our members and community; stimulated interest and participated in civic activities; promoted the general welfare of Hawai’i Island, Japan’s sister city relationships, and the State of Hawai’i; and supported the passage of laws and ordinances beneficial to business and our community. He encouraged business that promote economic growth, attract new business and entertain visitors; advocated to the perpetuation of the Japanese culture, heritage, and traditions in Hawai’i; and supported astronomy, education, science, and technology.

While we mourn Barry’s passing, we wish to recognize the positive impact he had on businesses and our community.

Funeral Service will be held on:
Friday, October 18, 2019, at the Hilo Hongwanji Temple
Visitation: 8:00 am – 11:00 am & Services: 11:00 am
Lunch to follow at Sangha Hall


JCCIH Visits Oshima Island

On February 8, 1962, Oshima Island of Japan became the County of Hawaii’s first Sister-City. Ohshima, translates to “Big Island” . It is home to waterfalls, valleys, black sand beaches, hot springs camellias and Mt. Mihara, an active volcano. The most recent eruption was in 1990 when the entire island’s population was forced to evacuate.

Disaster struck again in October of 2013 when Oshima Island was devastated by a typhoon. JCCIH helped by donating and soliciting donations towards a Typhoon Relief Fund.

In 2018, disaster struck the Big Island in the form of the Kilauea Volcano Rift Zone Eruption. Oshima Island, with a population of 8,500, donated $18,274 to the County of Hawaii for Volcano relief efforts.

Subsequent to the formation of it’s Sister-City Program, The County of Hawaii adopted a policy whereby each Sister-City must have a Hawaii Island sponsoring organization. With no sponsoring organization, the Sister-City Agreement with Oshima Island was in jeopardy.

In 2018, JCCIH President Audrey Takamine spearheaded the effort for JCCIH to sponsor Oshima Island. Your Board agreed that the relationship with our fellow “Big Island” of Japan was truly special and voted to become Oshima Island’s sponsoring organization. This agreement was signed in 2019 by, then President, Stephen Ueda.

In August, Past-Presidents Tommy Goya and Dwayne Mukai represented JCCIH and the County of Hawaii at Oshima Island’s Annual Summer Matsuri. They were warmly received by Mayor Toshihiro Mitsuji, his cabinet, a hula halau, traditional “Oshima Island Style” dancers and community members. Days were spent touring their beautiful volcanic island and evenings were spent rekindling and making new friendships. Tommy and Dwayne participated in the Summer Matsuri’s Opening Ceremony as well as being an integral part in their annual “Jan Ken Po” contest. The Matsuri ended with a fantastic 30+ minute fireworks display.

The only way to travel to Oshima Island is by ship. During this voyage, all passengers view an informational video on the major Izu Islands that these ships will port at. When describing Oshima Island, it starts with it’s Sister-City Relationship with the County of Hawaii. The video describes the beauty of Oshima Island but takes on the personality of a tourism promo for the Big Island with many scenic pictures and video of the Big Island.

Yes, we are both “Big Islands” with “Big Hearts” for each other. Oshima Island’s relationship with the County of Hawaii and your JCCIH is definitely a relationship that will endure the test of time and will continue to grow and flower like the beautiful camellia plants found on Oshima Island.





21st Annual Taste of Hilo

A gentle prod to all Chamber members; if you have any intention of attending this year’s event please purchase your tickets as soon as possible. It looks like another sell out!

When:   Sunday, October 20, from 1pm to 3pm

Where: Sangha Hall, Hilo Hongwanji

Tickets: $55.00 presale $70.00 at the door, based on availability

The ‘A Taste of Hilo’ event, which was started twenty-one years ago, came to fruition as an initiative to accomplish several goals. The first goal, to support our local restaurants and chefs by giving them an opportunity to gain more exposure to the community and showcase their culinary excellence and style. We have enjoyed the culinary creativity that many of our local chefs have exhibited over the years.

The second goal is to help fund the culinary program at Hawaiʻi Community College via scholarships to students as well as underwrite other expenses that the program and school may not have been able to otherwise afford. Our donations from this event now supports the entire school. Chamber members should be very proud to know that this event has enabled the JCCIH to donate more than $180,000 to Hawaiʻi Community College over the years.

The third goal is to provide real life experiences and connections for culinary students by assisting chefs at the event. This opportunity provides a chance for chefs to observe the work of culinary students and in turn make a potential link to a future job upon graduation.

We hope to see many of you at this year’s event. The committee has been working very diligently since the beginning of the year to ensure another successful event and appreciates everyone’s support and patronage!

Unable to attend but want to make contribution to this year’s event? Please consider a donation to our silent auction. Please contact Tracy Nagamine at (808) 443-2876 or via email at



JCAH and COH at the 23rd Annual Ikaho Hawaii Festival.

Hawaii County and Shibukawa City share a Sister City relationship that was established on January 22, 1997. The Ikaho Hawaiian Festival is the LARGEST hula festival in Japan. First held in 1996, Hilo’s Merrie Monarch overall winning halau is invited to perform with many hula dancers from Japan. Usually held during the last week of July/first week of August, the King Kalakaua The Merrie Monarch Ikaho Hawaiian Festival includes hula and ukulele workshops, along with many craft, apparel, and food vendors. Hula performances occur throughout the day on at least 3 different stages setup on the famous Ikaho Steps, as well as the main performance stage! The Hawaiian Festival committee is very proud of this special event and its relationship with Hawaii County.

The 2019 Ikaho Hawaiian Festival was held July 30 to August 2 in Ikaho, Shibukawa City. A delegation representing the Hawaii County Council and the Japanese Community Association of Hawaii were graciously received by Shibukawa Mayor Tsutomu Takagi, City Officials, and Ikaho Hawaiian Festival organizers, led by Takahiro Omori. Representing Hawaii County were Council Members Sue Lee Loy and Matt Kanealii-Kleinfelder and their spouses. Representing the JCAH were Mike Miyahira and Dwayne Mukai. Each day the Hawaii delegation ventured into the city and countryside, exploring economic and sustainability ventures, numerous parks and temples.

Each night, the Hawaii delegation enjoyed hula performed by the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival 2019 overall winner, Hula Halau o Kamuela, led by na kumu hula Kunewa Mook and Kau’ionalani Kamana’o. Grammy Award winner Kalani Pe’a accompanied the Halau. The performances each night were AMAZING. The first night of the Festival, attendees were treated to a powerful lightning and thunder storm overhead! The unexpected weather caused a delay, but the show did go on and the crowd of over 800 attendees were jubilated! On the final night, the Halau treated attendees to a hula with dancers dressed in kimono style attire. Mahalo Kunewa, Kau’i and Kalani for demonstrating the spirit of ALOHA!


Why It’s Important To Do It Now

Your Mom is in the hospital, in a coma and unable to communicate.  The doctor says she is near the end of her life and asks you what her healthcare wishes are.  Does she have an Advance Health Care Directive?  If you’re like many folks, the answer is “I don’t know”.  This places an incredible burden on the health care professionals and the family.  Community First holds free monthly workshops to help individuals complete their Advance Health Care Directive. It is a document that you complete now to help your loved ones during a difficult time.  Bring Mom/Dad/Grandparents and complete it together.  For more information, click here 


Taking a Proven Model and Expanding Island-Wide 

The “University Center” model has helped many West Hawaii residents attain college degrees that wouldn’t be available otherwise. It’s time to make this concept available elsewhere on Hawai‘i Island. Read more…


Statement from the Office of Maunakea Management on the passing of Barry Taniguchi

The Office of Maunakea Management (OMKM), University of Hawaii at Hilo, is deeply saddened by the passing of Barry Taniguchi. As has been pointed out by all who knew him, Barry was an exceptional, once-in-a-lifetime individual who was willing to take on even the most difficult of tasks if the welfare of our community was at stake.  Read more…

TMT Supreme Court Ruling on Native Hawaiian Issues 

In its October 2018 ruling, the Hawaii Supreme Court dismissed many arguments by the appellants, noting that, “The BLNR found no evidence, however, of Native Hawaiian cultural resources, including traditional and customary practices, within the TMT Observatory site area and the Access Way, which it characterized as the relevant area.”  Read more…

New Members
Kamuela Bannister
Hui Malama Ola Na Oiwi
1438 Kilauea Avenue
Hilo HI 96720
Wendell Ka’ehu’ae’a
Aloha Security
400 Hualani St.
Hilo HI 96720





Back To Top