Newsletter Title
President's Message
By David Honma, President

Happy New Year! Welcome to the Year of the Ram!

It is said, people born in the zodiac sign of the Ram - 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, and 2003 are very thoughtful, righteous, sincere, and elegant. They are also artistic, calm, reserved, happy, generous, and kind. These personality traits make them very likable and add to their charm. Are you a Ram?

It is hard to believe but we have just passed the halfway point of our fiscal year. At this time, I'd like to acknowledge and thank our Board Members, Committee Chairs, and Assistant Executive Director Lei Momi Fujiyama Pillers for their unconditional support and continued hard work in planning and scheduling our community events and workshops to enrich your chamber membership experience.

The New Year 2015 already started with a bang. On January 7th, your chamber, in participation with the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce, held its first joint Goji Kara or business after hour event at the new First Hawaiian Bank Branch, located at Prince Kuhio Shopping Center. This sold out event was attended by some 70 chamber members. Those in attendance viewed first-hand the most automated banking system in the state...tasted onolicous food catered by Don's Grill ...and got to sample fine white wines provided by Kadota Liquor. We want to thank Chuck Erskine, Branch Manager and his staff at First Hawaiian Bank for their warm hospitality.

Following the Goji Kara, chamber first vice president Darren Nishioka attended the 67th annual Hawaii Floriculture Nursery Association (HFNA) Shinnenkai at Nani Mau Gardens on January 10th. In support of president Eric Tanouye and the officers and directors of HFNA, dignitaries present included Governor David Ige, Mayor Billy Kenoi, and House of Representative Clifton Tsuji. According to JCCIH First V.P. Darren Nishioka, the event was very successful and all in attendance truly had a great time.

On January 22nd, your chamber held our inaugural Shinnenkai at Nani Mau Gardens. This fun-filled event was attended by 60 plus chamber members and guests. Along with the delicious prime rib dinner, attendees were treated to the sweet sounds of Stevenson Sioloa, and participated in many lucky number drawings, thanks to the generous donation of many chamber members. In addition, members found the selfie photo opportunity especially entertaining, thanks to the generous donation of Ryan Kajikawa and Brandy Miyose who brought their Picture U Photo Booth.

The distinguished Urasenke Hilo Association held its annual New Year's Tea Ceremony at Liliuokalani Park Gardens on January 26th. Led by past chamber presidents Russell Oda and Art Taniguchi, who also serve as President and Vice President of the Urasenke Hilo Association, the event included preparation and presentation of powdered green tea (Matcha), followed by a great lunch prepared by members of the Urasenke Hilo Association at the Tea House.

On the evening of January 26th, the Japanese Community Association of Hawaii (JCAH) held its 43rd annual Shinnenkai at the Crown Room of the Naniloa Hotel. It was an honor and privilege to represent our chamber at this gala event. Ms. Jan Higashi was installed as the new and first female president of JCAH and dignitaries in attendance included former Governor George Ariyoshi and First Lady Jean Ariyoshi, the honorable Consul General of Japan Toyeei Shigeeda, and County Mayor Billy Kenoi and First Lady Takako Kenoi.

In the coming months, your chamber will be offering other exciting events and programs to further enrich your membership.  On March 2nd, your chamber together with the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce, will be co-sponsoring the "Journey through the Universe" via a dinner engagement at the Hilo Yacht Club. These events will soon be followed by our 16th Annual Chamber Golf Classic Tournament at Hilo Municipal Golf Course on March 4th and our sponsorship of the Economic Outlook of Hawaii County presented by Mayor Billy Kenoi later in the month.

We truly appreciate your continued support of the chamber and look forward to seeing you at the upcoming events.

Domo Arigato Gozaimasu




Building Leadership Effectiveness:  360-Degree Assessments 
By  Audrey Takamine, Education Committee Chairperson

The New Year is a good time to reflect and to set goals. One of the goals for the Education committee is to educate our members. This year we will be rolling out a series of leadership workshops. In January to kick off the series, we were very fortunate to have Dr. Dave Hyslop from Bowling Green State University (Ohio) speak to us about the importance of using 360-degree job assessments. 

As a leader, our main goal is for our employees to succeed. What is the best way to measure and build an individual's leadership effectiveness? In many organizations, individuals move up the ladder because they are good at what they do but do not have formal training on how to be a leader. One of the keys in developing leadership effectiveness is to increase the leader's "sensitivity" about how well he/she is performing. This assessment has proven to be effective because it identifies the individual's current level of leadership performance, identifies specific behaviors demonstrating strengths and competence, identifies areas for improvement in leadership performance, assists in creating coaching opportunities between the leader and his/her supervisor (if applicable), and provides sufficient information to create a development plan and to measure long term growth. 

Tom DeWitt, Dr. Dave Hyslop and Audrey Takamine
We invite you to join us for our next Lunch & Learn on Thursday, April 19, 2015 from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM at the new UHH Student Services Building with leadership guru Teresa Wallace. In this workshop, you will receive a personalized assessment highlighting your performance on the 10 scientifically proven talents of successful entrepreneurs and hands-on coaching activities that help you better use your strengths, develop your opportunity areas, and a guide that assists you in understanding the entrepreneurial talents of others. We hope to see you there!


2015 Shinnenkai & 
General Membership Meeting 
By Gina Tanouye, Social & Cultural Chairperson

Member - Gina Tanouye
Food, fun, fellowship...that's how I would sum up our Shinnenkai to welcome the New Year!  On January 22nd the Chamber hosted a Shinnenkai, a New Year's celebration, at the newly renovated Nani Mau Gardens & Restaurants.  It was a casual and intimate evening filled with laughter and music.  Prime rib, basil chicken, macadamia nut crusted fish ... the food was delicious!  We were enchanted with live entertainment from Sole.  If you haven't had the opportunity to hear him perform, he is an amazing musician perorming local Hawaiian and R & B music and can be found at Kaleo's Restaurant in Pahoa on Thursday and Sunday nights.

Big mahalo to our master of ceremonies, Gordon Takaki.  With just two days before the event, he was a sport and stepped up to the plate when asked to emcee.  Ryan Kajikawa and his better half Brandy Miyose of Picture U Hawaii generously donated their photo booth.  Members dressed up in playful costumes and took pictures together.  Missy Miyashiro did a great job with the centerpieces where members wrote down their wishes for 2015.  For the closing of our Shinnenkai, we were fortunate to have four past presidents:  Dwayne Mukai, Randy Kurohara, Carol VanCamp and Tommy Goya lead us in our tejime.  Randy shared a great story with us about his time in Ohshima, Japan and his experience with tejime there.

Appreciation goes to our raffle prize donators:  KTA Super Stores, First Hawaiian Bank, Ginoza Realty, Inc., Hilo Hawaiian Hotel and Allstate Insurance.  Members were able to get tickets for these prizes by opening up their hearts and giving to the Friends of the Children's Justice Center.  Our Underwear & Sock Drive was a great success with 21 packs of socks and 24 packs of underwear.  Thank you to our amazing JCCIH members for your generous hearts!



Journey Through the Universe
By  Janice Harvey, Gemini Observatory


The ongoing success of any initiative in our Hawaii community is largely due to the partnerships that are formed. Journey through the Universe (Journey) is no exception, and without our local businesses supporting this nationally recognized program, the number of students reached, teacher's workshops held, and family science events attended would simply not have been achieved over the last ten years.

As we enter our second decade of Journey, we are so proud of the relationships built with both the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce. Our Journey team thanks the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry for supporting our students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. The annual celebration sponsored by the Chambers during Journey week provides a unique opportunity for the business community, the Department of Education and the astronomy community to support each other in our ongoing efforts to inspire, educate and encourage our students to "reach for the stars".

We hope that the Chamber members will join us in support of the second decade of Journey through the Universe in Hawaii. In the first decade, over 50,000 students were enlightened by a cadre of over 50 science educators and astronomers annually in hundreds of classrooms in the Department of Education's Hilo/Waiakea Complex area. We are looking to expand to other parts of the island, and hopefully that vision will become a reality in this next decade.

Please come and join us and meet our astronomers and engineers and the Department of Education's leadership team. We want to thank you personally for your continued support of Journey through the Universe and for your dedication to our Hawaii Island students.

For more information on Journey through the Universe, please visit:

JCCIH logo
HICC logo

Birthdays and Rights of Passage Celebrations
By members of the chamber

According to Japanese beliefs, certain years of age are considered unlucky or even dangerous, while others are perceived to be auspicious and worthy of celebration. Special ceremonies and rituals are thus practiced in order to drive away bad luck and/or to bring in good luck during these critical ages. It is for this reason that the following years are recognized in Japanese customs.

What is Shichi-Go-San?

Shichi-Go-San, or the "Seven-Five-Three" Festival, is observed on Nov. 15th of every year. On this day, five year old boys, along with three and seven year old girls, are dressed in kimonos and blessed by a Shinto priest for their continued health and well-being. It was originally believed that children of these particular ages were especially prone to bad luck. The Shinto blessing prayers were thus thought to provide divine protection for children at the critical points in their formative year. The observance has come to be regarded as a momentous rite of passage, as it represents the child's elevation to "little men" and "little women."

What is Yakudoshi?
Bad luck ages are referred to as yakudoshi, with yaku meaning "calamity" or "calamitous" and doshi signifying "year(s)." These years are considered critical or dangerous because they are believed to bring bad luck or disaster. For men, the ages 24 and 41 (or 25 and 42 in Japan) are deemed critical years with 41 being especially critical. It is customary in these unlucky years to visit temples shrines to provide divine protection from harm. In Hawaii, it has become a widespread tradition among men of Japanese ancestry to celebrate the 41st birthday with a festive yakudoshi party or gathering to ward off the bad luck or disaster that may strike. The birthday person should wear red to bring good health, vitality and long life.

The equivalent yakudoshi ages for women are 18 and 32 (19 and 33 in Japan), with 32 thought to be a particularly hard, terrible or disastrous year. Like the age 41 for men, precautions are taken to ward off bad luck and some women in Hawaii celebrate their 32nd birthday with a special yakudoshi party. 

What is Kanreki?

For men, the 60th birthday is called kanreki, the recognition of his "second infancy." The Japanese characters in the word kanreki literally mean "return" and "calendar." The traditional calendar, which was based on the Chinese calendar, was organized on 60 year cycles. The cycle of life returns to its starting point in 60 years, and as such, kanreki celebrates that point in a man's life when his personal calendar has returned to the calendar sign under which he was born.

Traditionally, friends and relatives are invited for a celebratory feast on one's 60th birthday. It is customary for the celebrant to be given a red hood and wear a red vest. These clothes are usually worn by babies and thus symbolize the celebrant's return to his birth.

Other birthday years celebrated by both men and women are described below.  After 60, you celebrate when it is the "full" birthday, not one year before the birthday. 

What is Ga No Iwai?

Ga no iwai (also known as toshiiwai) is a Japanese rite of passage celebrated at various ages to pray for long life.  This tradition was brought to Japan from China, and originally was celebrated once every ten years beginning when one turned 40 according to the traditional Japanese method of calculating age.  Since the sixteenth century, ga no iwai has come to be celebrated beginning when one turns 60 (kanreki) and subsequently at ages 70 (koki), 77 (kiju), 80 (sanju), 88 (beiju), 90 (sotsuju), and 99 (hakuju).

What is Kiju? (Happy age)

The celebration of one's 77th birthday is an example of ga no iwai. Age 77 is the "joyous year," and to live until that age is indeed fortunate. The Japanese characters for kiju literally mean and "long life."

What is Beiju? (Rice age)

The celebration of one's 88th birthday known as beiju or "yone-no-iwai," became popular since the Japanese characters for "88", when written together resemble the character for "rice" (yone, also read as bei).

From the very beginning of history, rice was respected by the people for it was their food, their life, their very livelihood and happiness. An integral and fundamental part of Japanese society, rice symbolized purity and goodness. Thus the 88th birthday is celebrated as a happy and joyous occasion. 



Hawaii Community College Updates

By Chancellor Noreen Yamane



February is National Career & Technical Education (CTE) Month, and at Hawai'i Community College this is a time to celebrate the nearly 20 CTE programs we offer to the Hawai'i Island community.

CTE programs prepare students for high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand jobs in fields such as nursing, electrical installation and maintenance, accounting, and information technology. Hawai'i Community College offers these programs and more to prepare students for rewarding careers and to train the workforce that local businesses need to be successful. In many cases, Hawai'i Community College is the only place on the island offering these programs.

CTE Program Advisory Council Meeting

One reason CTE programs are successful is because the college works closely with the industries that will employ our graduates. On February 19, the college will host the Career & Technical Education Program Advisory Council for the annual program meetings.

Advisory councils are formed for each degree program, so community leaders in business, industry, and the professions can provide guidance regarding course content, the selection of training equipment, employment needs, and the effectiveness of different programs.

2nd Annual Hawai'i CC Day

One way we are celebrating CTE Month is with our 2nd Annual Hawai'i CC Day on February 26 and 27. Hundreds of middle and high school students will visit the Manono Campus in Hilo and engage with our CTE programs as well as our liberal arts, social science, and natural science programs. Faculty, staff, and current Hawai'i Community College students will also be available to answer questions. This annual event was developed as a way to showcase our campus, services, and academic programs for Hawai'i Island students.


Membership - What it's all about!  Sharing is caring...



Audrey Takamine, Takamine Construction Inc. - "Joining the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawai'i has been one of the best decisions I've ever made.  It is an outstanding organization with rich history and great people.  Not only am I learning more about the Japanese culture, but also making lifelong friends along the way." 





Current Benefits for Members


Please check out the current benefits and discounts that you can take advantage of as a JCCIH member!   






Gina Tanouye, Allstate - Speegle Insurance Agency is dedicated to providing outstanding service with Aloha for your auto, home, renters, life insurance and financial service needs. Contact Gina Tanouye at or 969-7767. For every referral the office receives, the member will receive a $10 gift card for allowing them to provide an insurance quote. 



Kagari Fujita, Ph. D, Big Island Wisteria, LLC is offering members translation services of Japanese to English, or English to Japanese at a discounted price. Contact Kagari Fujita at   



Amelia Hayashi, Bob's Jewelers is offering members 30% off watches; 30% off gold jewelry (Po Son Hon collection excluded); and 30% off sterling silver jewelry.  Contact Amelia Hayashi at 935-8434. 


Diann Horita - With an office in Hilo, Eyewear Hilo has been serving Keaau, Papaikou, Kurtistown and Waimea for more than 4 years. Prior to beginning in Dec. 2008, the staff was employed by Eyewear Hawaii, Inc. and that same respected service is found at Eyewear Hilo.  When you desire superior cutting edge lens technology, call Eyewear Hilo at 935-1119. Members will receive a 20% discount. 


Joy Madriaga, Hawaii Petroleum, Inc., HPI offers dependable bulk fuel and lubricant delivery services to all districts of the island.  HPI's proprietary gas card program - Hawaii Fueling Network - provides a convenient, cost saving way for businesses and consumers to fuel. As a member, when you sign up with HFN, you will receive a discount on your gas purchase.  Contact Joy Madriaga at 969-1405 for further questions.  Applications are available at the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii.  

Sandy Wilson, Wilson's Trophies, provides awards for sports and academics; signs and banners; corporate awards, gifts & recognition; custom and personalized products (made to order); wood and acrylic crafting (laser engraving and designs); special occasions (Valentine's, Christmas, etc.); jewelry items (earrings, pendants, hair picks and more). Members will receive awards discounts. Contact Sandy Wilson at 969-7077.   




Words of Wisdom 

By Tommy Goya


Tommy Goya


"Never sacrifice your integrity"






back to the top







In This Issue




Officers & Directors  


Executive Officers

David Honma, President

Darren Nishioka, 1st Vice President

Russell Arikawa, 2nd Vice President

Audrey Takamine, 3rd Vice President

Naomi Menor, Japanese Secretary

Donn Mende, Treasurer
Ivan Nakano, Auditor

Carol VanCamp, Immediate-Past President


Directors - term expiring 6/30/15

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


Directors - term expiring 6/30/17

Jon Arizumi

Tommy Goya

Josie Kiyan

Phoebe Lambeth

Dwayne Mukai

Russell Oda

Joseph Skruch

Arthur Taniguchi

Gina Tanouye

Jere Usui 

Oshirase Newsletter   

Amanda Lee, Editor 
Lei Momi Fujiyama Pillers, Executive Assistant    




Welcome New Members! 


Jeffrey Girdner

Royal Hawaiian Orchards, L.P.

688 Kinoole St., Suite 121, Hilo, HI  96720

Ph: 747-8471   Fax: 969-8123


Cheryl Ho

Big Island Delights

762 Kanoelehua Ave., Hilo, HI  96720

Ph: 934-8734


Judi Mellon

Hawaii SBDC Network

100 Pauahi St., Suite 109, Hilo, HI  96720

Ph: 933-0776   Fax: 933-0778

Seniors Helping Seniors 2013-2014

Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home


Kama'aina Motors 




Direct Link 2013-2014


Kama'aina Nissan

Creative Arts 2013-2014


HELCO 2013-2014
Seniors Helping Seniors 2013-2014

Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home


Kama'aina Motors 




Direct Link 2013-2014


Kama'aina Nissan

Creative Arts 2013-2014 

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 


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