Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii's 25th Anniversary

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i continues its year-long celebration of its 25th anniversary with the signature event on Saturday, September 8 at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel Hawai'i Ballroom. The 25th Anniversary Gala will honor an organization and individuals all who have helped shape the Cultural Center into the valuable community resource it is today. The Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce (HJCC), Ronald Ushijima, Raymond and Betsy Sekiya, Jane Kurahara and Betsy Young have been instrumental in the Center's success over the years and given generously with their time and spirit.

In 1986, the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce initiated the Japan-Hawai'i Cultural Center project, "The Dream" to bring together organizations committed to preserving the legacy and history of Issei immigrants to Hawai'i. Guided by their vision of creating a cultural center, the chamber and other community organizations, established the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i and was officially incorporated as a non-profit organization on May 28, 1987.

Ronald Ushijima, one of the Center's founders, has served in a leadership role for over 26 years. A former president of the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Ron Ushijima served as the Chamber's representative to the JCCH board for 18 years. During his tenure on the board, Ron provided institutional knowledge to the board and became a mentor to many staff.

Raymond and Betsy Sekiya are two very familiar faces around the Center. Raymond Sekiya is a former chairman of the JCCH board of directors, long-time volunteer and currently working as one of the committee members for the exhibit: Pride of Hawai'i: Japanese American Amateur Athletes. His wife Betsy Sekiya is also a long-time volunteer of the Center. Betsy volunteers as a gallery interpretive guide leading school and groups and tours through the Okage Sama De exhibit and is one of the center's treasured ikebana arrangers.

The 25th Anniversary Gala will also recognize two outstanding JCCH volunteers with the inaugural Spirit of JCCH Award. Jane Kurahara and Betsy Young who have collectively volunteered over 35 years with the Center and have led the efforts to research and preserve the World War II confinement site located at Honouliuli.

"This truly is a remarkable year as we commemorate this milestone in the Center's history and honor some of the major contributors, founders, and volunteers that have set JCCH for greatness," said Carole Hayashino, president/executive director of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i. "We are proud of the Center's accomplishments and recognize that it would not be the vibrant organization that it is today without the support from the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce and individuals like Ronald Ushijima, Raymond and Betsy Sekiya, Jane Kurahara, and Betsy Young. I invite everyone to join us as we honor our heritage and look towards the next 25 years."

The 25th Anniversary Gala Banquet takes place on Saturday, September, 8 at 6:00 pm at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel Hawai'i Ballroom. Table sponsorships are available ($10,000/$5,000/$2,500). Individual seats are $250; $175 for JCCH members. For more information, click HERE or call Janna Lau at (808) 945-7633 Ext. 47.

Proceeds from this event will benefit the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i and all of its programs and services including, historical preservation projects, educational programs, workshops, cultural presentations, and festivals.

Past honorees include Yoshiharu Satoh, Richard T Mamiya, M.D., Masayuki Tokioka, Former Governor George R. Ariyoshi, Albert C. Kobayashi, Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Dr. Ruth M. Ono, Dr. Fujio Matsuda, Dr. Albert Miyasato, Joanne Ninomiya, Ryozo Sakai, Dr. Noboru Akagi Sensei, Albert Aoki Sensei, Tsuruo Fukushima Sensei, Bobby Lowe Sensei, James Miyaji Sensei, Takashi Nonaka Sensei, Shinichi Suzuki Sensei, Shigeo Yoshinaga Sensei, Shirokiya, Masao Koike, Les Murakami, Wally Yonamine, Occidental Life Insurance, Jane Komeiji, Dr. Dick Kosaki, Dr. Margaret Oda, Dr. Dennis Ogawa, Island Insurance Companies, Jean Ariyoshi, Dr. George Suzuki, Matsuo Takabuki, Armstrong Produce, Tasaka Guri Guri, Diamond Bakery, KTA Super Stores, M. Miura Store, Marians Catering/Dots Restaurant, Satoru Abe, Ken Hayashida, Dave "D.K." Kodama, Anne Namba, Roy Sakuma, and Dr. Genshitsu Sen.

The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i, a non-profit organization, strives to strengthen our diverse community by educating present and future generations in the evolving Japanese American experience in Hawai'i. Founded on May 28, 1987, the Center celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2012. The Cultural Center has more than 4,800 members and annually connects to more than 30,000 residents and visitors through its programs and events. The Cultural Center features a historical museum, an exhibition gallery, library/archive center, the Kenshikan martial arts dôjô, the Seikôan Japanese teahouse, and a Gift Shop. For more information call (808) 945-7633, email or visit the website.

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