Pahoa Nikkei Jin Kai to Celebrate 50 Years

Pahoa Nikkei Jin Kai will celebrate 50 years since its incorporation on Saturday, June 8.

nikkei Jin Kai

Crafted by graphic artist Cary Tanoue, the design incorporates English and kanji spelling out the organization’s name along with an anthurium.

“A Japanese community non-profit organization has been around in Pahoa for more than 100 years,” said committee chairman Jason Hashimoto. “This event celebrates the golden anniversary of our formal incorporation in 1963. It’s the first time we are trying to get Pahoa people together for a community reunion, both current and former residents.”

President Craig Shimoda said, “We are looking for people with ties to Pahoa who may have moved away from this area.”

Events planned for the day include a memorial service at 10 a.m. followed by recognition of keirokai members (80 years of age and older), luncheon, old fashioned games, photographic and artifact displays, and talk story time in the YBA Hall in Pahoa.

Past president Stanley Oishi recalled, “The organization way back built the first Pahoa Japanese school. In recent years, we built the YBA Hall. We take care of the hall and the cemetery. Annually we host the last obon dance of the season and mochi pounding close to the new year.”

Cost of the event is $10 for members or $20 for non-members. RSVP by May 4 to Pahoa Nikkei Jin Kai, P.O. Box 504, Pahoa HI 96778. Anyone wishing further information may contact Jason Hashimoto at (808) 937-5941 or by e-mail jasonhashi@gmail.com

About the logo:

A logo has been selected for Pahoa Nikkei Jin Kai to celebrate the 50th anniversary since the non-profit community organization’s incorporation.

Crafted by graphic artist Cary Tanoue, the design incorporates English and kanji spelling out the organization’s name along with an anthurium.

“If it’s representing Pahoa, it’s got to be an anthurium,” said long time resident Glenn Watarida, a former president of the organization.”

According to the late Pahoa historian Hiroo Sato, an active member of Pahoa Nikkei Jin Kai, “The first anthuriums were imported from England in 1889 by Samuel N, Damon and planted in his Moanalua botanical garden.” That first variety had a pink spathe.

“One of the first persons to grow anthuriums in Hilo was Herbert Shipman. There were several other local pioneers of whom one was Kisataro Keno of Kaumana. Kono produced anthurium
seedlings that were sold to Katsuto Hayashi who probably was the first to grow anthuriums in Pahoa in the 1930s.”

A multi-million dollar floral industry flourished with more than 260 farms on the island of Hawaii in 1959 – the majority of the state’s production. Due to the many growers, packers and shippers located in the area, Pahoa was labeled the Anthurium Capitol of Hawaii. “The industry reached its peak in 1980, supplying local, national, and international markets with up to 232,000 dozen flowers per month. Although yield was at 2.5 million dozen flowers in 1980, supply was insufficient to meet demand,” according to University of Hawaii publications. The bacterial blight of the 1980s set the industry back. Since then, development of disease-resistant strains, new horticultural practices such as drip irrigation, and advances in tissue-culturing of disease-free varieties has led to the continuation of the industry.

“We are so grateful to Cary Tanoue for all his help,” said current president Craig Shimoda. “Cary also has cleaned the Pahoa YBA sign that hung on the front of the first hall starting in 1921 and on the current building since 1980. It will be ready to hang up again for the celebration.”

“We have a full slate of activities for Saturday, June 8,” said anniversary chairman Jason Hashimoto. “Registration has been extended until May 25.”

Advance registration is required for the memorial service, activities and luncheon. For further information, contact Hashimoto at (808) 937-5941 or by e-mail to jasonhashi@gmail.com.

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