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  • 15 May 2023 5:48 PM | JCSM Admin (Administrator)

    Maui Matsuri returns to UH Maui College on Saturday, May 27 from 3 to 9 p.m., and will kick-off this Saturday, May 20 with Children’s Day at the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    Now in its 21st year, the Maui Matsuri festival continues to showcase a vibrant and diverse Maui community and has provided a venue to gather and celebrate a wide array of Japanese cultural arts and traditions. 

    Both events are free and are highly anticipated by residents and visitors. This year’s festival theme is ichi go ichi e – a Japanese philosophical concept that reminds us to treasure the unique, unrepeatable nature of a moment or encounter, for it will never recur.

    Children’s Day, May 20

    Children’s Day includes multicultural performances from Maui Taiko, King Kekaulike High School Jazz Band, Maui Buyo Dance Academy, Halau Hula O Keola Alii O Ke Kai,  Isle of Maui Pipe Band and Dance International Production. Mise Kimono also presents a kimono fashion show taking you on a journey from traditional to suggestions on a modern look.

    There will be recognition of awards, such as for the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui’s scholarship recipients, winners of HouseMart Ben Franklin Crafts’ art contest, and a special teacher dedication arranged by women educators in the Maui Chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa, a partner organization that helped organize Children’s Day.

    In addition, there will be special STEM demonstrations from Kalama Intermediate School, Pukalani Elementary School, Maui Waena Intermediate School and Kamehameha High School.

    There will be hands-on activities and kids’ crafts, and those wanting to purchase Maui Matsuri shirts may do so. The program will be emceed by Maui’s own Kathy Collins. At the close of the event, the public is encouraged to join a bon dance practice.

    Festival Day, May 27

    Maui Matsuri’s festival day features cultural entertainment presented by TJ’s Warehouse at the college’s great lawn from Maui Okinawan Taiko, Maui Taiko, Zenshin Daiko, Nakayama Minyo Kai, Maui Dance Klub, Maui Minyo Kai, demonstrations by Mitsune Kendo Dojo, and guest performers from Taiko Center of the Pacific, which includes a crowd favorite lion dance.

    At the festival, JCSM also recognizes an outstanding business that is Japanese-owned, and has been an ally in its mission to preserve and perpetuate Japanese culture and traditions. This year, the distinguished Business Award will be presented to the Nakashima family of Upcountry landmark Pukalani Superette. 

    Contests also return this year with the Sam Sato’s Saimin Eating Contest and the Shore to Shore Realty Natto Eating Contest. Registrations are ongoing with the Cosplay contest, organized this year by Nightdarling Cosplay and sponsored by Mise Kimono. There will be exciting prize drawings for the festival’s passport program and event survey. 

    Plus, the community can enjoy food booths and trucks, craft vendors, exhibits and the return of the children’s craft area called Kodomo Corner.

    “We look forward to celebrating Japanese culture with the community as we return to UH Maui College after four years,”said Kit Furukawa, president of Japanese Cultural Society of Maui. “We are so grateful to the sponsors and many hands that put this event together to keep traditions alive and help perpetuate the culture for our keiki. Let’s make beautiful memories together and please stay for the finale - a Community Obon Dance! Dust off your happi coats for the first obon dance of the season!”

    Maui Matsuri is produced by a team of volunteers led by co-chairs Kay Fukumoto, Brian Nagami and Jennifer Sumida.  The festival is presented by the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui, and supported in part by the County of Maui and the Office of Economic Development. Other major sponsors are Island Honda, IBEW Local 1186, UH Maui College, Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center and Maui Taiko.

    For more information, visit the festival website at mauimatsuri.com, or follow @mauimatsuri on social media. For those interested to volunteer, please call (808) 283-9999.

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  • 11 May 2023 4:29 PM | JCSM Admin (Administrator)

    KAHULUI, Hawaii - The Japanese Cultural Society of Maui is pleased to announce three outstanding applicants to receive scholarships this year. The awardees will be recognized at the Maui Matsuri Kick-Off event called Children’s Day on Saturday, May 20 at 10 a.m. at the Queen Kaahumanu Center. The following scholars were selected for their record of involvement in promoting and perpetuating Japanese culture and language.

    • Kaitlin Kitagawa

    Kaitlin will receive the Asa Ellison Memorial Scholarship worth $1500 for her outstanding academic record, community service and excellence in Japanese language. She is a senior at King Kekaulike High School and plans to attend Santa Clara University to pursue bioengineering with a minor in Japanese studies. Kaitlin was crowned the 68th Queen of the Chrysanthemum Festival for her efforts to raise funds for the Maui Sons and Daughters of the Nisei Veterans. She won an all-expense-paid trip to Japan for her team winning the Japanese Wizards Statewide Academic Team Competition.

    In her essay, Kaitlin shared that she is inspired to live by the Japanese value of “chugi,” or loyalty, “not only to my country, but to my culture, family, beliefs, and to myself,” she adds. “An important way to perpetuate Japanese culture is to speak up. We all need to vocalize our experiences - both good and bad, and share issues that are valuable to our community.”

    • Jaimee Yokoyama

    Jaimee will receive a $1000 JCSM Scholarship. She is a senior at King Kekaulike High School and plans to attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa to pursue computer science. For more than 11 years, Jaimee has danced for Maui Minyo Kai and has actively participated in Obon festivals around the island. She is also a member of the Maui United Junior Youth Buddhist Association and has volunteered for various Hongwanji churches. 

    By Jaimee's involvement in various community events, she said that "there are many people who are willing to learn about Japanese culture, but don't know where to look or find resources." She said part of the challenge is finding those who are willing to teach - which is why she remains committed to keeping traditions alive as she pursues higher education.

    • Taylie Teraoka

    Taylie will receive a $1000 JCSM Scholarship. She is a senior at H.P. Baldwin High School and plans to attend the University of California Irvine and major in civil engineering and minor in environmental engineering. In addition to strong involvement with her school’s student government, Taylie is also a member of her school’s Japanese Club, among others. She has organized cultural events with exchange students from Okinawa, Japan who are attending UH Maui College. Her team in the Level B category also won a trip to Japan from competing in the Japan American Society of Hawaii’s Wizards Competition. Finally, her team was selected to carry their winning mikoshi in Waikiki for the Honolulu Festival's Mikoshi Design Contest, which featured elements depicting Hawaii and Japan's connected cultures.

    Driven by a desire to study in Japan, Taylie wishes to see more opportunities with Maui's sister cities, a renewed effort to teach Japanese language and hopes to see the youth get more involved. "Young people are the future and there is an absence of young people in preservation efforts," she said. "I hope to become even more involved when I come back from college."

    The JCSM Scholarship Program is made possible by generous donations from Asa Ellison’s friends and family, and through fundraising and direct donations. To make a donation to this program to support future scholars, go to jcsmaui.org/scholarship.

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  • 12 Jan 2023 12:17 AM | JCSM Admin (Administrator)

    Now on its 54th year as a nonprofit, a new set of officers and directors will also be installed at the same evening to carry JCSM’s mission to perpetuate Japanese culture for future generations. The new officers and directors are the following:

    • Kit Zulueta Furukawa, President

    • Chris Sugidono, Vice President

    • Deron Furukawa, Secretary

    • Stacey Nikaido, Treasurer

      • Rep. Troy Hashimoto

      • Tiffany Iida

      • Brian Nagami

      • Elisa Suetake

      • Jennifer Sumida

      • Satoko Takahashi

    Join us to celebrate the Nihon Bunka awardees at JCSM’s Annual New Year celebration banquet Shinnen Enkai on Saturday, January 28, 5:30 p.m. at the Maui Beach Hotel, which includes dinner and entertainment. Attendees may wear formal kimonos at this function.

    Sponsorship packages, tables of 10 and general admission tickets are $75, and can be purchased at jcsmaui.org. Email jcsmhawaii@gmail.com for inquiries.

  • 12 Jan 2023 12:15 AM | JCSM Admin (Administrator)

    Kahului, Hawaii - The Japanese Cultural Society of Maui is pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s prestigious Nihon Bunka Awards given to outstanding individuals for their excellence and lifetime dedication to the perpetuation of the Japanese arts and culture, and for their unselfish willingness to share their talents with the community to inspire future generations. 

    • Deidre Tegarden

    As Executive Director of the Nisei Veterans Center, Deidre Tegarden has kept the spirit and legacy of “Go For Broke” alive through a dynamic and busy calendar of activities at the Center that promote Japanese culture - tea ceremony, bon dance workshops, anime movie screenings, leadership training, in addition to an archive of more than 200 special collections relating to Maui Nisei veterans. 

    She is a current Director At-Large for the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, and was instrumental in the success of a significant number of programs such as the Gannenmono 150th anniversary celebrations.  She received a Certificate of Commendation by Japanese Consul General Koichi Ito for her contributions to the Japanese-American community and for the deepening of mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and other nations. As Council Leader for the US-Japan Council, she has also convened events for the Regional Women In Leadership program, which advances opportunities for women in the context of US-Japan relations.

    Tegarden served as Chief Protocol Officer for Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Gov. David Ige. As a volunteer to the Maui County Sister Cities Foundation, Deidre provided Japanese protocol workshops, and has served as translator for numerous

    Japanese dignitaries. Her involvement in various initiatives with Japan has resulted in student exchange programs, as well as US-Japan business and governmental collaboration.

    She also served as Chief of Staff to the Office of the Mayor, Director of the Office of Economic Development for the County of Maui, and as the Executive Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters Maui. She was a recipient of Pacific Business News’ “Forty Under 40” Award and a graduate of the Weinberg Fellows Program. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Japanese and Chinese Studies at the University of Maryland.

    • Christopher Curtis and Lynn Shikatani Curtis

    Curtis Sensei and Lynn Curtis Sensei embody the spirit of Aikido, passed on through them from their teacher, the late Shinichi Suzuki Sensei, to all their students.

    Curtis Sensei is currently the Chief Instructor of the Hawaii Ki Federation (HKF) and formerly the Head Instructor of Maui Ki Aikido. He has trained fervently in the art of Aikido for over 48 years. He began his training in 1974 with his teachers Koichi Tohei Sensei in Japan and Shinichi Suzuki Sensei on Maui. Curtis Sensei served as Suzuki Sensei’s otomo, accompanying him to attend and teach seminars around the world. As Chief Instructor of HKF, Curtis Sensei teaches Aikido and Ki Principles throughout Hawaii, the United States, and Europe. He continues to teach a weekly meditation class at Maui Ki Aikido and trains annually, receiving instruction from his current teacher Kaicho Shinichi Tohei in Japan. Curtis Sensei has also authored several books about his Aikido practice—Letting Go; Ki Aikido on Maui: A Training Manual; and Otomo: A Journey, a semi-autobiographical account of his many years of practice.

    Lynn Curtis Sensei is currently a Senior Instructor and Head of the Children’s Program at Maui Ki Aikido. She began training with Shinichi Suzuki Sensei on Maui in 1978. Lynn Curtis Sensei assisted Suzuki Sensei for many years, accompanying him to Japan on numerous occasions. Lynn Curtis Sensei continues to teach a weekly children’s class at Maui Ki Aikido and also continues her training with Kaicho Shinichi Tohei in Japan. As a Senior Instructor and Children’s Instructor, she has touched the lives of many hundreds of Maui children for the better.

    Join us to celebrate the Nihon Bunka awardees at JCSM’s Annual New Year celebration banquet Shinnen Enkai on Saturday, January 28, 5:30 p.m. at the Maui Beach Hotel, which includes dinner and entertainment. Attendees may wear formal kimonos at this function.

    Sponsorship packages, tables of 10 and general admission tickets are $75, and can be purchased under "Events" tab. Email jcsmhawaii@gmail.com

    for inquiries.

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  • 18 Oct 2022 12:09 AM | JCSM Admin (Administrator)

    Oct. 9, Kahului - JCSM Members and Kahului Jodo Mission members created nuno zori during a workshop led by Sensei Keiko Maeda from Aomori, Japan.  Here are some photos from the event!

  • 6 Aug 2022 9:20 PM | JCSM Admin (Administrator)

    KAHULUI, Hawaii – The Japanese Cultural Society of Maui awarded two scholarships to outstanding students – Teisha Nishimitsu, graduate of King Kekaulike High School, received the Asa Ellison Memorial Scholarship worth $1500, and a $1000 scholarship was also awarded to Payten Shimizu, a graduate of Baldwin High School.

    The scholars were selected for their record of involvement in promoting and perpetuating Japanese culture and language.

    Nishimitsu will be studying Biology and Japanese language at Stanford University and intends to audition and pursue taiko drumming professionally, and aspires to study in Japan someday. She has performed and taught taiko with the Zenshin Daiko, competed with the Japanese Wizards Statewide Academic Team Competition, and signed up for the Chrysanthemum Ball.

    “During the pandemic I asked my great great grandmother what she thought we needed to do to

    overcome the hate facing the Asian community,” Nishimitsu shared in her essay, “Her response was simple, yet so intelligible. “We all have to find something we can do together.””

    Meanwhile, Shimizu will be continuing learning Japanese culture and language at Portland State University. She will also be spending four weeks in Japan this year after winning a scholarship contest on how anime reflects Japanese culture and its impact on America’s youth today. After college, she plans to participate in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program.

    “I believe that one of the main challenges faced by the Japanese community on Maui and

    Hawai’i in general is that they are not educated about many of the hardships that their ancestors

    faced when coming to Hawaii,” Shimizu shared in her essay. “For example, many are unaware of the internment camps that the Japanese were put into during World War II. I only learned about these hardships during my third year of high school. I feel that it was a significant part of the history of Japanese immigration in Hawai’i, as it taught a lot about discrimination.”

    The JCSM Scholarship Program is made possible by generous donations from Asa Ellison’s friends and family, and through fundraising and direct donations from its members. To make a donation to this program to support future scholars, contact jcsmhawaii@gmail.com.

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  • 2 Jun 2022 12:16 AM | JCSM Admin (Administrator)

    Kahului, Hawaii – The deadline for the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui’s Scholarship program application is extended to June 30, 2022.

    Applicants with a record of involvement in promoting and perpetuating the Japanese culture and language are encouraged to apply. Applicants don’t need to be of Japanese descent, but must be a resident of the island of Maui, and a High School graduate of the class of 2022, or a current full-time student at the University of Hawaii Maui College.

    Scholarships are at $1000 each, with one applicant awarded $1,500 for the Asa Ellison Memorial Scholarship for the perpetuation of the Japanese language.

    Go to jcsmaui.org/scholarship to download the application. To submit the requirements or for questions, email jcsmhawaii@gmail.com.

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  • 2 May 2022 12:13 AM | JCSM Admin (Administrator)

    KAHULUI, Hawaii – The Japanese Cultural Society of Maui presents “Children’s Day – Kodomo No Hi” on Saturday, May 7 at the Queen Kaahumanu Center from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Kodomo No Hi is a Japanese tradition that focuses on children; and the evening’s activities present a variety of multi-cultural entertainment and exploratory experiences.

    Featured performers include: Maui Taiko, Maui Buyo Dance Academy, Kalama Intermediate Ukulele Band, Zenshin Daiko, Halau Hula O Keola Alii O Ke Kai, The Peek a Bows, Maui Dance Klub, and Dance International Production.

    Free kid’s crafts and activities will also be offered near center stage. Make origami crafts with the Maui United Buddhist Women’s Association; play some plantation era games with the A&B Sugar Museum; learn the art of floral arrangement from MOA Hawaii; explore scouting crafts and activities with the Boy Scouts of America; enjoy fan and hachimaki decorating and coloring projects with the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui.

    In addition, the Maui County Fire Prevention Bureau will provide free keiki ID’s in a storefront next to Ben Franklin Crafts.

    For more information, call 808-283-9999.

  • 10 May 2021 12:12 AM | JCSM Admin (Administrator)

    The Japanese Cultural Society of Maui awarded the Asa Ellison Memorial Scholarship worth $1750 to Leilah V. Eusebio of King Kekaulike High School for her efforts in perpetuating the Japanese culture and language. JCSM also awarded $1000 scholarships to Elise Aquinde and Teige-Anna Barcoma Suyat of Maui High School, and Cassidy Hanano of Kamehameha Schools Maui.

    The scholars were selected primarily for their record of involvement in promoting and perpetuating the Japanese culture and language.

    Eusebio fell in love with the Japanese culture and has made it her goal to take up Japanese Studies in college in order to become a Japanese language teacher. Early last year, her team won first place at the Japan Wizards Competition organized by the Japan America Society of Hawaii, which included a trip to Japan as a prize.

    The JCSM Scholarship Committee also noted Eusebio’s dedication to the culture even though she is not of Japanese descent. Her scholarship was made possible by generous donations from Asa Ellison’s friends and family, who keeps his spirit alive by supporting our young leaders.

    The scholars will be recognized in August at JCSM’s annual event Maui Matsuri, which was cancelled last year due to the pandemic. To make a donation to this program to support future scholars, contact jcsmhawaii@gmail.com.

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  • 10 Jan 2021 1:36 AM | JCSM Admin (Administrator)

    Kahului, Hawaii – The Japanese Cultural Society of Maui will honor nine Maui individuals with the Resilience Award, recognized for their leadership and community service in 2020. The awardees were nominated and have been selected for going above and beyond their own capacity to give back to the community, and for being an inspiration during these trying times of the pandemic.

    The awardees will be recognized at JCSM’s annual Shinnen Enkai New Year celebration, which will be held online on Saturday, January 23 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Registration is free, and sponsorship opportunities are available here.

    The awardees are:

    Aris Almerida Banaag, Task Force Maui Medical COVID-19 Response

    Capt. Aris Banaag led the Task Force Maui Medical Response Covid-19 Mission for the Hawaii National Guard on Maui. Their operations are on-going. His team has provided numerous safety and educational briefings to private and public entities, and led the swabbing and PPE training for all Airport Rescue FireFighters (ARFF) for Maui County. His team was present at every COVID-19 surveillance, testing operation, contact tracing education and every crisis response. Aris is on the ground helping transport boxes of relief goods to car trunks at most Binhi At Ani Food distribution drive. With the countless hours Aris has devoted to keeping us safe during this pandemic, we are fortunate to have leaders like him protect and serve our community.

    Evanette Hardin of Family Life Center

    As many families endure making ends meet for shelter during the pandemic, Eva doubled her efforts to make sure the homeless are not forgotten. She has made it a family affair to provide unavailable support such as transportation to those in need, sacrificing her personal resources, time, and even her own health, just to ensure a vulnerable family is safe with a warm home and bed. Eva is an unsung hero whose compassion and love for the community is often unnoticed, but for the countless families she’s helped, to them she is an angel.

    Dr. Lui K. Hokoana of University of Hawaii Maui College

    In addition to leading the transition for UH Maui College students to attend full-online classes during this pandemic, Chancellor Hokoana made sure to carve out time in his schedule to help produce initiatives that help fight COVID-19. UHMC became a hub for community-led efforts such as the Contact Tracer Training for state administrators and employees. Lui made sure the community knew the college was available and willing to support resilience efforts. While many in the community were laid off and unemployed, he partnered with the County of Maui to create the Maui County Virtual Job Fair to help train displaced workers to find new jobs and careers. He also helped execute several food distribution initiatives, and most recently, hosted COVID-vaccination drive-thru events. Though he is typically one who prefers to be behind-the-scenes, the chancellor’s commitment to innovation, culture and community especially during a pandemic has inspired his peers in the academe, the students, and the Maui community.

    Chef Kyle Kawakami of Maui Fresh Streatery

    Chef Kawakami cooked & prepared nearly 5,000 hot, delicious meals for the past 44 weeks, which provided sustenance for socially isolated, high-risk kupuna all over Maui during this pandemic. With support from individual donations from his Aloha Tip Jar, volunteer “food angels” who help deliver the food, and with generous community partners, he showed resilience with his Kokua Meals Initiative program despite enduring temporary closure with his food truck business. Chef Kyle wouldn’t think twice when presented with an opportunity to help his community.

    Megan Nakashima of Pukalani Superette

    Though she may seem quiet and unassuming, Megan’s resourcefulness and strength shone when her community called for help during this pandemic. As President of Pukalani Superette, she utilized her connections to source food and raise donations for food distributions to Upcountry residents in need. She was instrumental in the success of various initiatives by Pukalani Elementary, Upcountry Strong and Women Helping Women. Her hands-on and humble leadership has inspired others to give back to the community as well.

    Shannon Loo & Jonah Valois-Nishimura of Maui Minyo Kai

    When the much-anticipated Bon Dance festivals around the island was cancelled, Shannon and Jonah created Zoomdori – bringing the Japanese cultural dances online. The duo held online classes every Friday night from March to September 2020, reaching an audience in the thousands as far as Asia to the US Mainland. The effort did not only promote their love for Japanese dance, which brought many smiles and cultivated friendships, but their display of resilience provided healing and breathing space for the many affected by the pandemic.

    Jennifer Oberg of Maui Face Mask Project

    When there was a demand for face masks to protect the community from the virus, the Maui Face Mask Project responded. Leveraging her expertise as a top-notch dressmaker, Jennifer worked with medical professionals to design an N-95 equivalent mask, then organized a dedicated group of volunteers to produce thousands. She rose to the challenge and brought many others up with her. The masks provided protection for Maui healthcare professionals and essential workers – literally saving many lives. Jennifer’s resilience inspired many others to do the same, prompting many volunteers and community partners to respond, which also cultivated friendships and a sense of purpose during this difficult and isolated time. She continues to make masks through the Maui Sewing Hui and hopes to continue to inspire more to give back to the community.

    Leinaala Perry of Project Ho’omana

    Leinaala, together with her daughters Tyra-Li and Pristine, re-imagined Project Ho’omana of East Maui to address the basic needs affected by the pandemic for their community. Lei fundraised, organized and empowered her community – especially the kupuna and keiki, with over 50 distributions in Hana ranging from school supplies, footwear, “kupuna blessing bags”, weekly produce at the farmers market, turkeys for Thanksgiving, toys and food truck vouchers for Christmas and monthly food boxes. Today, Lei is still fundraising to do more and improve their operations, so she can continue to be a blessing to her community.

    John Tryggestad of Maui Friends of the Library

    MFOL is one of the many nonprofits affected by the pandemic as its stores were forced to temporarily close, giving a halt to its primary fundraising source. But because of the leadership of their president John Tryggestad, they were able to uphold and continue their mission to provide support to libraries and enhance the communities learning experience through used books and resources. With new safety protocols in place, John provided leadership in the distribution of more than 8,400 books to Maui teachers, librarians, and parents of homeschoolers. This was coupled with their Holoholo Bookmobile, which provided much needed support to families. John ensured that learning will never be canceled on Maui because of MFOL’s commitment to the community.

    “This event promises to be a night of inspiration and hope – something we need to look forward to for this year’s challenges,” said Deron Furukawa, president of JCSM. “I invite you all to celebrate and honor these remarkable awardees with us, and help share their stories to create positive change in our community.”

    The event is free and open to the public. All funds raised will go towards JCSM’s Scholarship Program. Contact jcsmhawaii@gmail.com for any questions.

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Japanese Cultural Society of Maui, Inc.   Est. 1969

P.O. Box 5090, Kahului, Hawaii 96732     jcsmhawaii@gmail.com

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