JASH Japan Wizards Competition Sends Five Teams to Japan in Summer 2017

On February 25, 2017, 126 students representing 25 high schools from Oahu, Hawaii Island, Maui and Kauai participated in the 14th Annual Japan-America Society of Hawaii’s (JASH) Japan Wizards Statewide Academic Team Competition (JWC) at Kapiolani Community College. Teams were comprised of three students each, with a total of 42 teams competing.  The 42 teams competed in one of two levels, A or B, depending on the Japanese language class they were enrolled in at their respective high school. Students were tested on their knowledge of various Japan-related topics such as art, culture and tradition, food, geography, history, Japan-Hawaii ties, literature, politics and government, sports, contemporary Japan, and of course language. Four winning teams are awarded trips to Japan at the end of the event.

At the conclusion of the JWC, the annual Atsuhiko Tateuchi Memorial Award for Outstanding Scholarship, given by JASH Board Member Ms. Ina Tateuchi in honor of her late husband, Atsuhiko Tateuchi, who was a strong supporter of JASH and the Japan Wizards Competition, was awarded to the overall top-scoring team in the competition, Mid-Pacific, Level A team. This team received a total of 240 points out of a possible 300 points at the competition.

Mid-Pacific Level A team wins the Atsuhiko Tateuchi Memorial Award for Outstanding Scholarship

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The 29th Annual Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention

The Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) sent six Junior Ambassadors (JAs) to the 29th annual Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention (APCC) in Fukuoka, Japan, July 13 – 25, 2017.

The APCC has been hosted by the Fukuoka City government since 1989. It was started to celebrate the city’s 100 anniversary. Now in its 29th year, the APCC has hosted over 10,000 students from all across the Asia-Pacific region and other countries across Europe and South America. The mission of the APCC is to promote international relationships among children so that they will become adults with a sense of social responsibility for the world.Read More

JASH Junior Ambassadors depart for the 29th Asian Pacific Children’s Convention in Fukuoka

After months of preparation, parents and children were both anxious and excited as the JASH Junior Ambassadors departed for the 29th Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention (APCC) in Fukuoka, Japan on Thursday, July 13, 2017.  They were accompanied by chaperone David Nakanishi and Peace Ambassador Ava Williams.  The delegates will spend eleven days in Fukuoka — seven days with a host family and three days at an Exchange Camp with other 11-year olds from over 40 different Asia-Pacific countries and regions.  

APCC Delegates depart to Fukuoka, Japan (l-r:  Junior Ambassadors Yuuka Brown, Sabina Funasaki, Taryn Kimura,  Peace Ambassador Ava Williams, Kyler Shigemi, chaperon David Nakanishi, Rielan Hung and Ryan Handa)

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JASH hosts Japan U.S. Military Program

On June 5, 2017, JASH held its first ever JUMP event (Japan U.S. Military Program) in partnership with Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA and National Association of Japan-America Societies, and with the support of the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu. 

Given the recent events of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region and Hawaii’s position as a crossroads between east and west, the JUMP event provided attendees with a highly relevant and engaging day of learning and conversation. Guests heard advice from a decorated United States Brigadier General, a thought provoking and provocative panel discussion with faculty from the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies and had an opportunity to connect with U.S. military service members who have served in Japan and members of the community with an interest in U.S.-Japan defense and security issues. 

JASH President Reyna Kaneko opened the day by welcoming attendees and introducing Peter Kelley, the President of National Association of Japan-America Societies, from Washington D.C.  Sal Miwa, Chairman of the Board of JASH then introduced Brigadier General (Ret) James T. Hirai, the Deputy General of Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, as the keynote speaker.

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Junior Ambassadors take on the Charity Walk!

JAs and parents at 2017 Visitor Industry Charity Walk

On May 20, the JASH Junior Ambassadors and their families along with 2017 APCC Chaperone David Nakanishi and 2018 APCC Chaperone Sandy Takeda, participated in the 2017 Visitor Industry Charity Walk. As always, the walk started in Ala Moana Beach Park and extended into Waikiki for a total of 5.25 miles. The calm walk through Waikiki provided the JAs and parents the opportunity to build upon their friendships. Along the way, the JAs stopped by a number of checkpoints where they were given various snacks and gifts from the charity walk sponsors. Despite having minor injuries prior to the walk, the six JAs finished the back at Ala Moana Beach Park to enjoy a lunch with each other. The Visitor Industry Charity Walk raise money for various charities on the island of O’ahu and the money that the Junior Ambassadors raised will help fund future APCC programs.
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Junior Ambassadors take on Camp Erdman

The JASH Junior Ambassadors (JAs) stayed at Camp Erdman from Saturday, May 6 to Sunday, May 7 for an overnight retreat to build teamwork amongst the group and prepare for their trip to Japan. At camp, the JAs practiced for the cultural performance which they will perform at the Global Bridge Festival in Fukuoka, Japan in July. They also completed the YMCA’s Team Development Course in which JAs were tasked with a variety of challenges and puzzles designed by Camp Erdman staff to encourage participants to work together and trust the other members of their team.
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Spring 2017 Japan Day

Over 130 high school students enjoyed a morning immersed in Japanese culture at JASH’s bi-annual Japan Day, sponsored by the Hawaii Community Foundation’s Youth Matters and Lanai Community Fund on May 9. 2017.  Held at the Pacific Beach Hotel, Japan Day is celebrating 25 years of bringing together students and experts in a variety of traditional Japanese art forms and is the Society’s longest running educational program.  Students from Kalani High School, Lanai High and Elementary School (LHES), Moanalua High School and Punahou School took part in the various cultural classes.

Taiko Center of the Pacific shares a taiko demonstration during the Opening Ceremony.

Members of the Taiko Center of the Pacific invigorated the atmosphere with their taiko demonstration during the Welcome Ceremony.  Following the welcome ceremony, students then proceeded to their cultural classes presented by 30 volunteer experts on bon dance, calligraphy, ikebana (flower arranging), karate, kimono/yukata wear, origami, soroban (Japanese abacus), and “Life Skills and Personal Success: Attributes of a Global Citizen.”  Each student had the opportunity to participate in four different cultural sessions throughout the morning.Read More

JASH 27th Annual Friendship Golf Classic

 

Consul General of Japan Yasushi Misawa awards the grand prize trophy to Wallace Afalava and Mark Sumida.

The JASH 27th Annual Friendship Golf Classic was held on April 20th, 2017 at Hawaii Prince Golf Club in Ewa Beach. Mahalo to Atsushi and Mayumi Takebayashi from Move4Japan for providing the delicious yakisoba! Shochu donated by Kai Vodka was used for the JASH-traditional sake kanpai at noon, followed by a taiko shotgun sendoff performance by Dragon Beat.

Thank you to Atsushi and Mayumi Takebayashi for cooking fresh yakisoba for the players and volunteers.

With the taiko drums in the background, 113 golfers descended upon the course. Despite the rainy weather that persisted from the start of the tournament through its end, players persevered through the conditions to finish all 18 holes while participating in various contests such as the Hole-in-One and Closest to the Pin contests.  Various snacks and refreshments were available at the Special Hole and the Cold Towel stations.
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Luncheon with Grant Newsham, The “Other” Side of Japan: Yakuza and their involvement in Japanese Society, Government and Business

On Thursday, April 27th, 2017, over 75 guests attended a lunch talk at the Ala Moana Hotel given by Grant Newsham on “The Other Side of Japan: Yakuza”.  Mr. Newsham provided an enthralling picture of Yakuza in today’s Japan – their involvement in all levels of Japanese society and their impact on domestic and global business and government affairs.  Mr. Newsham’s personal anecdotes and stories allowed attendees an inside look into yakuza operations and how they wield influence over infrastructure development and political figures and events.  Perhaps most surprising to the audience was learning of the yakuza presence in Hawaii.

The yakuza is a blanket term for Japan’s organized crime groups. They were traditionally federations of gamblers and street merchants and their history dates back hundreds of years. Today, there are 21 major groups with more than 53,000 members, according to the National Police Agency. Many of their money-making activities are illegal but they also run legitimate enterprises.

A Retired U.S. Marine Colonel, Mr. Newsham is an independent business risk consultant specializing in organized-crime, corruption, fraud, and other oft-overlooked threats to private companies doing international business. He lived in Japan for over 20 years and served as a U.S. Diplomat before spending over a decade with a major American financial firm fending off risk-threats to private companies.

Tomodachi – Hinamatsuri Celebration at the Japanese Consulate

Hinamatsuri Celebration at the Japanese Consulate

On March 1, 2017, Consul General Yasushi Misawa and Mrs. Yoko Misawa graciously opened their doors to hold a Hinamatsuri Celebration in their official residence for JASH members and guests. Hinamatsuri (Doll Festival) also known as Momo-no-sekku (Peach Festival) is traditionally celebrated on March 3 by the Japanese to wish for the happiness and healthy growth of girls. Households display elegant dolls called hina ningyo dressed in ancient court costumes of the Heian Period (794 – 1185).

Consul General and Mrs. Misawa welcome guests to the hinamatsuri celebration

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