WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new Cherry Blossom Festival Queen was crowned Sunday night at the Sheraton Waikiki.
At the 63rd annual Cherry Blossom Festival Ball – with the theme, "Mirai e no Kakehashi" or "Building Bridges for the Future" -- Kimberly Kimiko Takata took top honors for her dedication to perpetuating Japanese culture, commitment to education and passion for community service. The 2007 Punahou School graduate was chosen for her outstanding performance during the festival's preliminary activities, interview and Festival Ball – a seven-month culmination of cultural and professional development classes of Japanese history, tea ceremony, calligraphy, taiko, public speaking and more.
Takata, a business analyst, graduated from Oregon State University in 2012 with a bachelor of science degree in public health and a certificate in medical humanities. She also obtained her master's degree in public health, with a specialization in social and behavioral health sciences. Her ultimate goal is to be an "innovative and compassionate leader, promoting successful aging among Hawaii's communities."
Five other young women were also selected to represent the Cherry Blossom Festival Court:
- 1st Princess and Miss Congeniality: Rosalei Teruko Chinen
- Princess: Jessica Naomi Kaleikaimana Kaneshiro
- Princess: Celina Kiyomi Quach
- Princess: Kyla Miyuki Teramoto
- Miss Popularity: Heather Rie Miura
Launched in 1953 by the founding fathers of the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce, the Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the longest, continually running ethnic festivals in Hawaii. The festival was created to celebrate Japanese culture and enrich the lives of young Japanese-American women.