The Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) held its 36th Anniversary Annual Dinner on Thursday, October 25th at the Hilton Hawaiian Village’s Coral Ballroom. Over 350 members, supporters, and friends attended this gala affair, the major annual fundraising event for JASH.
As in previous years, JASH honored a member of the community with the JASH Bridge Award for building bridges of understanding and friendship between Hawaii and Japan. This year’s honorees were former Hawaii Governor George Ariyoshi and Mrs. Jean Ariyoshi for their lifetime of work in promoting this most important relationship. While Governor Ariyoshi broke a lot of ground reaching out to Japan after taking office in 1974 to promote economic, cultural, and educational ties when relations with Japan were not the best, Mrs. Ariyoshi as First Lady worked to promote cultural ties, including the launching of her “One Thousand Trees of Aloha” and her work promoting the tea ceremony with Grand Master Dr. Genshitsu Sen.
On hand was Senior Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye who recognized Governor and Mrs. Ariyoshi’s work in promoting the important relationship with Japan, telling personal stories during the many years of their political and personal relationship. In his acceptance speech, Governor Ariyoshi complemented the work of JASH, quoting former U.S. Ambassador Mansfield by saying that what it promotes is the most important bilateral relationship, bar none, in the Asia-Pacific region and encouraged new initiatives to promote better ties with Japan-based societies. Mrs. Ariyoshi praised her husband’s efforts, and vowed to continue working to promote this important relationship with Japan.
In keeping with previous tradition, JASH invited a world-class speaker to the event to deliver the keynote address. Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) House of Representatives Member and former Minister of the Environment and Minister of Defense Ms. Yuriko Koike addressed the gathered crowd, delivering a personal message from newly-elected LDP President Shinzo Abe with a story about Governor Ariyoshi, pointing to the importance of the U.S.-Japan relationship, and discussing future regional security issues.
JASH would like to thank all the table sponsors, supporters, and attendees for their support of this annual dinner, and for their support throughout the year. Names of sponsors and supporters can be found on the JASH website here.