President's Message
By Carol VanCamp, President


One of the biggest highlights of every Chamber President's year of leadership is the opportunity to visit and share friendship, fellowship and ideas with our Sister Chamber members in Higashi-Hiroshima.  This year, I had the pleasure of leading our 10-person delegation for a 2 day visit to both Higashi-Hiroshima and Hiroshima.

As those in our Chamber who have gone before me know, we are treated like royalty and enjoy amazing food, sake and cultural experiences, highlighted by the Chamber and City's annual Sake Festival, which this year attracted about 240,000 people.  It's an experience that any of our members are welcome to participate in each year. 

This year, we enjoyed a visit with the Mayor and a reception and dinner the evening of our arrival, followed by a day filled with Sake Festival activities that included an opening ceremony, tea ceremony, and strolls throughout the festival area to sample both sake and other foods and all of the other booths.  Traditional Japanese food was also served at lunch and dinner that day.

The following day, three of us joined our hosts for a day of touring Miyajima Island and the Peace Memorial Park, followed by a great dinner atop a building in downtown Hiroshima.  At the dinner, we discussed how important our Sister Chamber relationship is to both of our Chambers, and they are already looking forward to visiting us in June 2014 to celebrate the 15th year of this relationship. 

Our Higashi-Hiroshima Sister Chamber changed leadership as of Nov. 1st - Masayuki Kishida (outgoing Chairman) was replaced by new Chairman Ryuichi Sasaki, for which we sent a congratulatory message.

Upon returning from Japan, I was able to participate in our 15th Annual Taste of Hilo at Sangha Hall, which again was a sellout and another very successful event.  The Taste of Hilo Committee, led by Co-chairs Russell Arikawa and Craig Shiroma, worked tirelessly to attract great vendors, sell tickets and coordinate all of the work and logistics involved.  Noreen Toledo chaired the auction and did a great job as well.  This event annually produces funds to benefit Hawaii Community College with their programs, campus improvements and scholarships.

The Japanese Cultural Day at Sangha Hall on Nov. 16th, sponsored by the Japanese Community Association, was a wonderful event this year, and they also added a short parade featuring our Chamber's Omikoshi.  Many of our members joined a pre-event cleaning of the Omikoshi and helped to prepare it for the parade.  This cleaning event was held at Kuwaye Trucking, and they have offered to store it for us.  This year's Cultural Day event was dedicated to the late Yasuo Kuwaye, a long-time Chamber member and supporter and an early organizer of the Japanese Community Association.  Ten 2013 Japanese "Cultural Treasures" were also recognized.   Congratulations to JCAH for another very successful event!

On Nov. 15th, our Chamber hosted Japanese Studies students from UH-Hilo at an evening gathering on campus.  The students prepared their favorite foods for us, such as oden, Japanese zenzai, and Dango mocha.  They also gave presentations about their hometowns in Japan. This event was sponsored by our Education Committee as a way to make connections with these students and make them feel welcome.  Thanks to Audrey Takamine, committee chair, and Yu Yok Pearring, UHH Marketing & Alumni Director and a committee member, for all of their efforts.

Our strategic planning initiative, under the leadership of Past President Mike Miyahira, continues to move forward. Mike is volunteering his time and expertise to help our leadership determine our priorities, goals and objectives for the next 3 to 5 years.  The results will be shared with the membership when the process is completed.

Planning is now underway for the Chamber's annual installation event, which has been set for June 23, 2014.  Incoming President Dave Honma and his committee will begin planning activities over the next several months.

On a sad note, our Chamber recently lost long-time member and Past President Yukio Takeya, who was also the owner of Ala Kai Realty, Inc.  Yukio passed during his travels in Japan in mid-November, and arrangements for his funeral are pending.  He has been an active and faithful supporter of our Chamber and will be missed. 

A big "thank you" goes out to our Social & Cultural Committee for the great job they did under Gina Tanouye's leadership for our Dec. 2nd General Membership Meeting & Holiday Party at the Hilo Hawaiian.  Highlighted by a special performance by Mark Yamanaka (with our very own hula dancers, Josie Kiyan and Joy Madriaga), and our favorite member rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas (Japanese Style), it was a wonderful opportunity to enjoy great food, door prizes and fellowship among members and guests.  Reiko Hamano gave a wonderful presentation on holiday cultural activities in Japan that was both interesting and informative.  Another star of this year's event was Adams Agtarap, our emcee.  For those who were unable to attend, you really missed a fantastic evening of holiday cheer and fun!

During this holiday season, we wish all of our members a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year filled with memorable times with family and friends, good health, and good fortune in the year ahead.  We also appreciate your membership and active involvement in our Chamber and are looking forward to working with all of you in the coming year!




   "As gentle as a snowflake, may peace come to your heart"    

Japanese proverb    







Mayor's Message

Mayor Billy Kenoi
The holiday season is here - my favorite time of year! Too often we get caught up in the stresses and challenges of everyday life. The holidays offer an opportunity to gather with family and friends, to enjoy traditions that have been passed from generation to generation, and to reflect on our blessings.

I am thankful for my wife, Takako, and my children, Liam, Justin, and Mahina. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve my community alongside a team of committed leaders. I am thankful for the men and women of our armed forces and our first responders who keep our families safe and our nation free.

While we celebrate all the good things, we must also remember that many of our friends and neighbors right here on Hawai'i Island are less fortunate. Also, friends in our sister cities in Japan and the Philippines have been affected by recent natural disasters. We have a kuleana, a responsibility, to them as well. Let us keep in mind those in need, and be inspired to serve one another with generous hearts and open hands.

This holiday season is indeed a time to remind us that the values we all share should far outweigh whatever differences there are among us. We are truly blessed to call Hawai'i Island our home. May the spirit of the season be with you now and throughout the new year.


Billy Kenoi

County of Hawaii



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JCCIH Members:

During this holiday season, please remember to keep our friends from Ohshima Island in Japan in your thoughts and prayers as they recover from October's Typhoon Wipha.  Ohshima Island is a Sister City to Hawaii County, so we have joined the County, Japanese Community Association of Hawai'i, and Kona Japanese Community Association in a relief effort to raise funds to help them during this difficult time.  Donations can be made to the "Aloha Ohshima" relief fund at any branch of Bank of Hawaii statewide through Dec. 31st.


Thanks for your support!

Carol VanCamp


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10th Anniversary! 
Journey through the Universe
Hilo, Hawai'i 2014
By Amanda Lee, Oshirase Editor and Janice Harvey,  Journey Local Team Leader 


With next year marking the 10th anniversary of Journey through the Universe, our chamber wanted to take a closer look at this incredible initiative, and the relationship that the chamber has had with it over the years.  We sat down with Janice Harvey of Gemini Observatory to explore what Journey through the Universe means for all of us.  Janice is the Community Outreach and Education Programs Leader for Gemini Observatory and serves as the local team leader for Journey on the Big Island.


Journey started over a decade ago under the vision of Dr. Jeff Goldstein, Director of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, and over the years has evolved into one of the most respected and successful Journey programs in the nation.  Through Gemini Observatory, Hilo is one of 10 communities in the nation that participates as a Journey site.  Journey brings together the local students and teachers with astronomers and engineers who not only share their passion and knowledge for science and technology, but also inspire local students to aim high in their education and future careers.  To understand the impact that this outreach has had, for each of the past nine years, astronomy educators and engineers have visited an average of 7,000 students in 380 classrooms in the Hilo/Waiakea District.


Janice shares that JCCIH has been on board since the beginning. Along with Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce, JCCIH has sponsored an annual event at the Yacht Club for the past several years. This thank you celebration is a unique opportunity for astronomers, educators, and the business community to discuss and share a common goal - to enrich science education in our schools and inspire our children to aim high.   


We asked Janice how Journey through the Universe has been able to grow into such a successful initiative in our community.  She shares that with the vision behind it, that it's the commitment and caring support of individuals and organizations that has developed Journey into a very respected and exceptional program.  Commitment from people such as Dept. of Education District Superintendent Valerie Takata, who has been involved since the beginning, and has been so important in the Journey partnership and helping to make it a thriving and sustainable program in our schools.  Janice described how JCCIH's commitment to Journey from "day one" is a great example of how the dedication in our community and enthusiasm to support education for our children has helped to launch Journey into the wonderful program that it is today.  JCCIH President Carol VanCamp and Education Committee Chair Audrey Takamine have both embraced this relationship with Journey and have been great supporters of the effort.


After learning about Journey's history from Janice, it is clear that it is so successful in large part because of the passion and love for it from Janice.  An amazingly dedicated woman, she has been developing this initiative over the years, and deserves a very grateful mahalo from the chamber for all she has given to the Journey program, the children, the community, and all she continues to contribute to this wonderful effort!









New Lease Agreement Sought for Mauna Kea
By Stephanie Nagata, Office Director of Mauna Kea Management


As reported by the media, the University of Hawaii (UH) is requesting a new lease agreement with the state for the Mauna Kea Science Reserve. The existing lease expires in 20 years; UH is seeking an additional 45 years, taking it through 2078. Testimony was presented to the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) in November, but it postponed taking action on the matter for lack of a quorum and agreed to take up the matter at its next meeting, scheduled for December 13. 

The 20 years remaining on the current lease might seem like a lot, but it is far from adequate when it comes to the kind of long-term planning that is necessary to properly manage a mountain - it is vital to address the future of Mauna Kea beyond 2033.

The new lease will address the changes made by UH to better manage Mauna Kea in the 13 years since it adopted the 2000 Master Plan. The Master Plan confined development of astronomy facilities to a 525-acre Astronomy Precinct, leaving the remaining 11,000-plus acres in the Mauna Kea Science Reserve as a buffer protecting the mountain's natural and cultural resources. It also created a new, community based management  structure comprised of OMKM, MKMB and Kahu Ku Mauna under the UH Hilo Chancellor. Collectively, we believe that we have demonstrated the effectiveness of these changes, including the creation of such critical documents as the Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP) and its sub-plans, which pay special attention to understanding and protecting Mauna Kea's cultural and natural resources.

The new lease is not a pathway for new development. However, there is no ignoring the fact that Mauna Kea is home to some of the world's leading astronomical facilities. The new lease is necessary in order to provide a basis for developing sublease agreements with current and any potential future telescope projects, which are all obligated to abide by the CMP and its sub-plans, including the eventual decommissioning of facilities.

The new lease would reflect management actions and reporting requirements adopted by the BLNR, which has had a direct hand in reviewing and approving the CMP. The UH is required to report to the BLNR every year on the management of the mountain.

The new lease would allow the implementation of legislation concerning Mauna Kea, such as Act 132, which was passed by the Legislature in 2009. It authorizes UH, in consultation with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, to promulgate administrative rules governing public and commercial activities within the UH Management Areas. The Act also established a special fund into which fees are deposited and can only be applied toward the management of the mountain.

These are significant developments and, while not perfect, UH is achieving its goal of respectfully accommodating all of the people who wish to access the special gifts that Mauna Kea offers. Science and culture can coexist on the summit. The new lease will provide the flexibility and framework that UH and DLNR need, as many of the management recommendations will require long-range planning and practices that extend well beyond the expiration of the current lease. The new lease will ensure that a dedicated, community-based management structure continues to protect and preserve Mauna Kea's precious resources for future generations.  








Bunka No Hi
November 16, 2013
Japanese Culture Day in Hawai'i

Sponsored by the Japanese Community Association of Hawaii
Jan Higashi, Co-Chair  


Bringing the omikoshi or mikoshi (portable shrine) to life was the highlight of this year's Bunka No Hi.   For the first time, a short parade preceded the Japanese Culture Day festivities at the Sangha Hall.  The parade featured Grand Marshal, Mrs. Hanako Kuwaye,  the 2013 Cultural Treasures, President and Mrs. Hiroshi Suga, Waiakea Judo Club, Hilo Kobukan Kendo, Hilo Meishoin Tsukiage Bon Dance Club along  with Puna Taiko, Taishoji Taiko and Hui Okinawa Kobudo Taiko and many "mikoshi escorts."   The Omikoshi was carried Hilo-style by 55+ Hiloans (men and women) led by Nao Noguchi of SF Taru Mikoshi; Larry Omura, Hawaii Mikoshi (Honolulu) and Paul Sakamoto, Hilo's own.   Noguchi and Omura came to Hilo at their own expense to help prepare and teach the intricacies of carrying the mikoshi!     

The Omikoshi is the property of the Japanese Chamber from the Japan Maritime Training Ship and had been carried by the sailors of the ship at the International Festival of The Pacific, an annual event sponsored by the JCCIH for over 40 years.  The mikoshi has been stored at Hilo Daijingu for about ten years and now, thanks to Wayne Kuwaye of Kuwaye Trucking, it has a new home and is being stored at their base-yard in a container temporarily loaned by Conen's until a Matson container becomes available.  Thanks also to Craig Takamine of Takamine Construction for building a special dolly so the mikoshi can be moved more freely when needed.  Also, thanks to Craig for being the lone Japanese Chamber member who volunteered to carry the omikoshi and President Carol VanCamp who was a "mikoshi escort."

This year's Bunka No Hi enjoyed its largest turnout and featured many exciting demos, displays, and entertainment.  Some of the most popular were the demo on "the life cycle of a silkworm and natural dyeing", and the Seijinshiki Kimono Dressing by Keiko Fujishita from Tokyo, who dressed three "coming of age" young ladies in beautiful furisode.  She too flew to Hilo at her own expense.   
Mahalo to all JCCIH who helped with the food concession, volunteered to set up  and clean up and participated in this biennial event.     







HawCC Update
By Chancellor Noreen Yamane




Over 80 international students from countries such as Nepal, Japan, France and Russia are enrolled in Hawai'i Community College's Intensive English Program and other degree and certificate programs. When international and domestic students are considered, we have more than 40 ethnicities represented on campus.

On November 13 and 14, Hawai'i CC students, faculty and staff celebrated our diverse college community with the 5th Annual Hawai'i CC International Education Week.  Thanks to funding from JCCIH that was raised through "A Taste of Hilo," we were able to host activities such as mochi pounding, panel discussions, lectures, calligraphy, and drum-making as well as a World Culture Night featuring recipes from around the world prepared by our Culinary Arts students.

Hawai'i CC is committed to internationalizing the college's campus and curriculum, because it's important to prepare our students to thrive in an increasingly global community.  International students also benefit the Hawai'i Island economy. In the 2012-2013 academic year, international students at Hawai'i CC contributed $1.5 million to the Hawai'i Island economy through tuition, fees and living expenses, according to an annual report by NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

Mahalo to JCCIH for helping us in achieving our international education goals.


Hawai'i CC and the State of Hawai'i Workforce Development Division are collaborating to offer free Individualized Career Achievement Network (iCAN) workshops for anyone interested in improving their reading, writing, math and workplace skills.

Open to anyone over 18, whether or not they have a high school diploma, these free iCAN workshops prepare students for the workforce as they pursue a National Career Readiness Certificate.  As an employer, you know the importance of hiring the right person. The success of your company hinges on the strength of the workforce you hire. This certificate demonstrates that these individuals have the necessary skills for successful job performance.

The workshops are funded through a grant awarded under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grants (C3T), as implemented by the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration.

The iCAN workshops, located at the Workforce Development Division in Hilo, are a great way for employees and job seekers to improve their employability skills. To register and for more information, contact Serrylee Kanakaole-Wong, Student Support Specialist, at 981-2860 ext. 232.  



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Welcome in the New Year!
By Joji-san 


Did you know......

New Year
(shogatsu or oshogatsu) is the most important holiday in Japan for most Japanese. Most businesses shut down between January 1st to 3rd, and typically families spend their days together.  


Traditionally, each New Year provides a fresh start, while "year forgetting parties" (bonnenkai parties) are held with the purpose of leaving the old year's worries and troubles behind.  


January 1st is a very auspicious day, best started by viewing the New Year's first sunrise (hatsu-hinode), and traditionally believed to be representative for the whole year that has just commenced. Therefore, the day is supposed be full of joy and laughter and free of stress and anger.  Everything should be cleaned up, and no work should be done.


Japanese New Year Traditions

Otoshidama:  Is an old New Year tradition of Japan, in which people give money to the kids. Usually in this custom you give a decorated envelop to the children.  The amount of the offering depends on the age of the children. 



:  Mochi is a tradition when people make rice cakes on Japanese New Year. One of the main purposes of making Mochi is decorative. Mochi is made in kagami mochi. Daidai, a bitter orange is often placed at the top of the decoration. Mochi is made before New Year and is eaten when the celebration of New Year begins.
Kagami Mochi
(gate pine): is a traditional Japanese decoration of the New Year placed in pairs in front of homes to welcome ancestral spirits or (Kami) of the harvest. They are placed after Christmas until January 7 and are considered temporary housing (shintai) for kami.  Kadomatsu is formed from three large bamboo shoots. The shoots are set at different heights and represent heaven, humanity, and earth, with heaven being the highest and earth being the lowest. The Kadomatsu is also decorated with pine and Ume shoots and are bound with a straw mat and newly woven straw rope.


Japanese New Year Customs

These are some of the Japanese traditions and customs for the upcoming New Year:
*    The Japanese hang a straw rope in front of the entrance of their home to keep away the evil spirits. This brings good fortune.
*    At the turn of the New Year, one Japanese custom is to start laughing.  They believe that this would keep away the evil spirits.
*    The Japanese go to the temple and ring the temples bells 108 times. They believe that ringing the bell 108 times will keep away all the evil forces.
*    Those who believe in the Shinto religion decorate their houses with green plants and bamboo. Green plants signify new life and bamboo signifies honesty.

Have a safe and joyous New Year!



Japanese Cultural Puzzle 


See how well you know these Japanese words!

1)    Japanese Fencing 
Answer:   __ __ __ __ __

2)    Japanese Banjo  (like) Musical Instrument 
Answer:  __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

3)    Japanese Drum
Answer:  __ __ __ __ __

4)    Japanese Flower Arrangement
Answer:  __ __ __ __ __ __ __

5)    Japanese Tea Ceremony School
Answer:  __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ 

1)    Kendo;   2) Shamisen;   3) Taiko;   4) Ikebana;   5) Urasenke



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Meet your Committee Chairs...

Randy Kurohara
Economic Development Committee Chair: 
Randy Kurohara

This month we are honored to continue our Committee Chair highlight with a remarkable man and member, Randy Kurohara.  Randy is currently serving as the Deputy Managing Director for the County of Hawai'i.  He previously served for 4 years as the Director of the County's Department of Research and Development, which is the economic development office for the County of Hawai'i.

Kurohara is also a longtime Hawai'i Island businessman and an owner of the graphics and custom apparel company Creative Arts Hawai'i, as well as retail businesses Parker Ranch Store and Aloha Grown.  He is a member and past president of the Rotary Club of South Hilo; board member and past president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hawai'i; board member of the Hawai'i Island Chamber of Commerce; Hawai'i Island United Way and Boys and Girls Club of the Big Island; a member of the Kona Kohala Chamber of Commerce and serves on the East Hawaii Regional Board of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation.

Kurohara believes in the power of small business and its role in keeping our economy and community vibrant and special.  He brings these values to the chamber and Economic Development Committee.  With this type of energy and dedication, we asked Randy to share some of the vision and motivation of his committee: 

"Our membership needs to keep abreast of the multiple economic opportunities and challenges that we as an Island business community face.  Our Economic Development Committee focuses on bringing such issues and initiatives to our membership for educational purposes, but more importantly to help shape their own business and organizational decisions.  Furthermore, we hope to inspire participation in our chamber and help to fulfill its responsibility and role in a healthy and economically secure Hawai'i Island. "

In many ways this committee touches the core of what the chamber stands for, and is the basis for much of what drives us.  If you are interested in seeing what the committee is all about and how you can become involved, please contact the chamber office or Randy.


Words of WisdomTommy Goya

By Tommy Goya


"A lie can go around the world twice before the truth can get its shoes on." 

Mark Twain








  December 2013
      December Kanji
In This Issue
President's Message
Mayor's Message
Aloha Ohshima
Journey throught the Universe
OMKM Update
Bunko No Hi
HawCC Update
Meet your Committee Chairs
Words of Wisdom
2013-2014 JCCIH Leadership
Welcome New Members!











What's Happening


December 24 - 25, 2013

JCCIH Office Closed


December 31, 2013 & January 1, 2014

JCCIH Office Closed  


January 2, 2013

Golf Committee Meeting

Restaurant Kenichi

5:00 pm 


January 14, 2014

Board of Directors Meeting

Hilo Yacht Club

11:30 am


February 10, 2014

Board of Directors Meeting

Hilo Yacht Club

11:30 am  


March 10, 2014

Board of Directors Meeting

Hilo Yacht Club

11:30 am 


March 5, 2014

JCCIH Golf Classic Tournament

Hilo Municipal Golf Course

(more information forthcoming) 






Officers & Directors  


Executive Officers

Carol VanCamp, President

David Honma, 1st Vice President

Darren Nishioka, 2nd Vice President

Russell Arikawa, 3rd Vice President

Naomi Menor, Japanese Secretary

Donn Mende, Treasurer
Ivan Nakano, Auditor

Jon Arizumi, Immediate-Past President


Directors - term expiring 6/30/14
Tommy Goya

Phoebe Lambeth
Marvin Min

Dwayne Mukai
Russ Oda

Joseph Skruch

Arthur Taniguchi


Directors - term expiring 6/30/15

Janice Bueltmann

Barbara Hastings

Randy Kurohara

Amanda Lee

Tracey Miura

Michael Miyahira

Allan Onishi

Debbie Shigehara

Nina Tanabe

Toby Taniguchi


Directors - term expiring 6/30/16
Nobuo Arimoto

Ross Birch

Laurie Correa

Charlene Iboshi

Michael Kaleikini

Ka'iu Kimura

Kimo Lee
Barry Mizuno

Steve Ueda

Nico Verissimo

Oshirase Newsletter   

Amanda Lee, Editor 
Lei Momi Fujiyama Pillers, Executive Assistant  

Chantee Poepoe-Vigil, Intern 





Welcome New Members!


Tom DeWitt  




[email protected]


Monika Mallick


[email protected]


Jan-Marie Osorio  

Hawaii Community College 

Internship Coordinator, Student Services 

934-2734, 938-8176, 934-2501

[email protected]


Kerry Pitcher 

Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home 


 961-1500, 933-1835 

[email protected]


Aya Shehata 

Hilo High School 

Japanese Studies Teacher 

 895-3207, 969-9388

[email protected]





Seniors Helping Seniors 2013-2014




Kama'aina Motors




CPB 2013-2014




Big Island Toyota 2013-2014
Click here to go to website




Direct Link 2013-2014




Kama'aina Nissan



Click here to go to website



Creative Arts 2013-2014



KTA Super Stores 2013-2014


HIAC 2013-2014
Click here to go to website

HFS FCU 2013-2014



DeLuz Chevy 2013-2014





CU Hawaii
click here to go to website


HPM Better Builder 2012-2013
Click here to go to website





Bank of Hawaii
click here to go to website






HELCO 2013-2014
Click here to go to website




Seniors Helping Seniors 2013-2014




Kama'aina Motors




CPB 2013-2014




Big Island Toyota 2013-2014
Click here to go to website




Direct Link 2013-2014





Seniors Helping Seniors 2013-2014




Kama'aina Motors


Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hawai'i


714 Kanoelehua Avenue
Hilo, Hawai'i 96720-4565
Phone: 808-934-0177
Fax: 808-934-0178 
[email protected] 


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