The Hilo-based Japanese Community Association of Hawaii is seeking nominations for Japanese cultural treasures, individuals who have made significant contributions to the preservation and perpetuating of the Japanese culture and arts in East Hawaii.
According to Hiroshi Suga, president of the association, “these individuals will be honored and recognized at ‘Bunka No Hi,’ Japanese Culture Day in Hawaii Festival, on Saturday, Nov. 16, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin Sangha Hall. This year’s event will be dedicated to Mr. Yasuo Kuwaye, who passed away earlier this year. He was one of the early organizers of the association and was committed to the preservation and perpetuation of Japanese culture and arts and was recognized by the Japanese government with an imperial decoration.”
Since 2003, the association has recognized and honored 34 cultural treasures, including the AJA (Americans of Japanese Ancestry) veterans who served with the 442ndRegimental Combat Team, the 100th Battalion and the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) during World War II. In 2011 the following treasures were recognized: Michio Iyo, bonsai and Japanese landscaping; Michi Koizumi, Japanese language; Morris Nakaishi, bonsai; Richard Nakamura, AJA baseball; Charles Narimatsu, kendo; Lillian Noda, Japanese dance; Ruth Walker, aikido; Miyeko Yamane, calligraphy, and Hanako Yoshimura, shishu, tsumami, binzai ku, Japanese doll making, ikebana and Doo Yoo, teaching Japanese children’s songs.
Nomination forms are available via email at email@example.com or by calling the JCAH office at 969-6437. Deadline for submitting nominations is Tuesday, Oct. 15. Awardees and their nominators will be notified no later than Nov. 1. For more information, call Tommy Goya, Cultural Treasures Committee chair, at 989-5953.
The Bunka No Hi is a biennial event sponsored by the association. In keeping with the 2011 festival, the theme for this year’s event is “Mottainai 2.” Mottainai is a Japanese word which means, “no waste” or “it’s a shame to waste.” A Mottainai Recycled Art Contest will be announced soon.
New this year is a short parade, featuring the famed omikoshi, or shrine, that the sailors from the Japan training ship used to carry during the former International Festival of the Pacific.
Bunka No Hi will also feature traditional displays, demonstrations, shichi-go-san (kimono dressing for children ages 3, 5 and 7) and Seijin-Shiki for three lucky 20-year-old females, calligraphy, food from various Japanese community groups, or kenjinkais, and entertainment.
The Japanese Community Association of Hawaii, is a nonprofit organization with a membership of nearly 400 families. The association was formed in 1972 to promote and perpetuate the Japanese culture and arts in East Hawaii and to foster international relationships with Japanese citizens and organizations.