Orange and green—the colors of Ehime Prefecture—set a festive theme for JASH’s 39th Annual Dinner at the Hilton Hawaiian Village’s Coral Ballroom on September 24, 2015. A gathering of nearly 500 guests filled the ballroom including the Honorable David Ige, who delivered the keynote speech, as well as other distinguished dignitaries: Former Hawaii Governor George Ariyoshi; Japan’s Consul General in Honolulu, Yasushi Misawa; Consul General of Australia in Honolulu, Jeff Robinson; Consul General of the Republic of Korea, Walter Paik; and Director General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center, Wallace Chow.
This year, JASH presented two Bridge Awards; one to Mr. Kenneth Saiki, Director of the Ehime Maru Memorial Association, and one to the United Japanese Society of Hawaii (UJSH). The President of UJSH, Mr. Cyrus Tamashiro, received the award on behalf of the Society. For her fifth year, Lara Yamada from KITV returned to emcee the evening.
Mr. Kenneth Saiki was honored for his extraordinary devotion and support of Ehime following the unfortunate accident of the Ehime Maru in 2001. He helped organize resources and provided support for bereaved families and led a community-wide effort to raise funds for the victims’ families. Since then, Ken has dedicated time and effort in order to care for the Ehime Maru Memorial in its regular maintenance. JASH has recognized Ken’s incredible contributions to U.S.-Japan relations and hopes for his continued support.
The United Japanese Society of Hawaii was honored for its vital assistance in the aftermath of the incident. They organized a meeting with the bereaved families to present them with funds they had raised in addition to giving them sympathies from the people of Hawaii. Today, UJSH continues to assist with the care of the Ehime Maru Memorial and mikan trees at Kakaako Waterfront Park and strengthens Hawaii-Japan relations through their extensive outreaches and events.
Keynote speaker, Governor David Ige began his speech with a thoughtful story about the beginning of his political career and the mentorship of former governor George Ariyoshi. He went on to explain the importance of the U.S.-Japan relationship and the special position that Hawaii has in our alliance. He then thanked JASH for its role in promoting relations between Japan and Hawaii and urged JASH members to continue to be a society of global leaders and visionaries.
Again, JASH would like to thank its table sponsors, supporters, volunteers, and all those who attended. We would also like to thank the Hilton Hawaiian Village for continuing to host our event after many years. Photos from the event can be found at Artistic Mindz Photography, courtesy of Tony Grillo.
Event Sponsors can be seen below: