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67th JCCIH Installation Draws Leaders from Across the State and Japan

Continuing the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii (JCCIH) mission to promote values-based business and interconnection, JCCIH welcomed State and Japanese leaders of government and commerce at its 67th installation at the end of June.

Audrey N. Takamine of Takamine Construction, Inc., was inducted as the 2017-18 president of the JCCIH, becoming the fourth woman to lead the organization.

Audrey Takamine, new president of Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry, right, presenting Russell Arikawa, immediate past president, with mahalo plaque.

“When Craig and I founded Takamine Construction,” she said, “we set our philosophy as ‘building long-term relationships,’ and that’s a major goal I have for the Chamber. These friendships across the state and with Japanese business leaders foster that goal.”

Lt. Governor Shan S. Tsutsui, a Maui native, gave the keynote remarks, calling on businesses to “acknowledge the rich history of the community and the State and remain grateful for the contributions and sacrifices of generations past.”

From Japan, dignitaries and delegates from sister city Higashi-Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce & Industry (HHCCI) joined the celebration. Tsutsui noted that he was encouraged by the relationship between Higashi-Hiroshima and Hilo business communities “in exploring unique business opportunities while gaining a better understanding of one another.”

Also in attendance was Sherry Menor-McNamara, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii (CoCH) which represents statewide business interests. JCCIH works with CoCH to promote mutually beneficial programs and legislation.

The group from HHCCI included the chamber Chair Kazuyuki Kihara, Executive Councilor Katsuhiko Muneto, Councillor Takashi Shohara and his wife Yuko Shohara, Councilor Masao Ninomiya and his wife Ruriko Ninomiya, Councilor Atsushi Isobe and Managing Director Kazunari Ohara.

Besides Takamine, the other 2017-18 JCCIH Executive Officers include:

  • First Vice President: Stephen N. Ueda, Suisan Company, Ltd.
  • Second Vice President: Donn S. Mende, HFS Federal Credit Union
  • Treasurer: Joseph F. Skruch
  • Immediate-Past President: Russell M. Arikawa, Ginoza Realty, Inc.

The installation drew a record crowd of more than 250, requiring a change of venue.

“We are very grateful that the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel opened its doors to accommodate our Installation, said Takamine.  “I look forward to working with our new officers. I also welcome the many new members that JCCIH has attracted over the past year. We intend to continue that growth.” JCCIH now has more than 300 members from businesses and professions.

Takamine is a 2002 graduate of the University of Hawaii-Hilo College of Business and of Waiakea High School.

The Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii fosters economic sustainability as well as perpetuating the Japanese cultural heritage and traditions in Hawaii. Its mission is to promote the wellbeing of our community through business and personal relationships that embody the values of Kahiau & Okage Sama De. In Hawaiian, Kahiau means giving without expecting anything in return. Okage Sama De is a Japanese proverb, which means I am what I am because of you.

The Chamber sponsors the popular annual Taste of Hilo, set this year for Sunday, October 22. The Chamber hosts business and cultural events and information sessions throughout the year and works with other business organizations as a watchdog over state and county legislation.

For information about JCCIH programs and membership, visit www.jccih.org

Higashi-Hiroshima Chamber Joins JCCIH Installation Ceremonies

Officials of the Higashi-Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce & Industry flew to Hilo to participate in the installation of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii (JCCIH) officers for 2016-17.

Darren Nishioka, left, passes the gavel to Russell Arikawa, new president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii

Darren Nishioka, left, passes the gavel to Russell Arikawa, new president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii

During the 66th annual ceremony on June 8, Russell Arikawa of Ginoza Realty, Inc. was installed as president of JCCIH. The two Chambers continue to explore beneficial opportunities between the business communities of Higashi-Hiroshima and East Hawaii.

Arikawa, a realtor, has served the Chamber as government affairs chief and as a chair of the popular Taste of Hilo. He is a director of the Kanoelehua Industrial Area Association, and a commissioner with the Department of Water. Born in Hilo, he graduated from University of Hawaii-Hilo.

During his remarks, Arikawa said East Hawaii faces many challenges, old and new. “It is an era distinguished by community service,” he said, but it is also a time “which challenges every elected official and public servant. We must be more accountable and more accessible to the people.”

Arikiawa received the gavel from immediate past president, Darren Nishioka of CU Hawaii Federal Credit Union.
Other officers of JCCIH include: first VP, Audrey Takamine of Takamine Construction; second VP, Stephen Ueda of Suisan; third VP, Donn Mende of County of Hawaii; treasurer, Joseph Skruch; auditor, Ivan Nakano of I. Kitagawa & Company, Ltd.; and Japanese secretary, Naomi Menor of Naomi’s World Travel Service. The officers and 34 directors were installed by Attorney Peter Kubota.

Sandra Dawson of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) gave the installation keynote address, reporting on the status of the project and its challenges. JCCIH has been a staunch supporter of TMT and has worked closely with the astronomy community to promote culturally appropriate scientific research.

Members of JCCIH and Higashi-Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce & Industry meet at Hilo International Airport

Members of JCCIH and Higashi-Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce & Industry meet at Hilo International Airport

JCCIH fosters economic sustainability and perpetuates the Japanese cultural heritage and traditions in Hawaii. The two value pillars that the JCCIH is built on are the Hawaiian Kahiau (giving without expecting anything in return) and the Japanese Okage Sama De (I am what I am because of you.)

The Chamber sponsors the popular annual Taste of Hilo. It also hosts business and cultural events and information sessions throughout the year and works with other business organizations as a watchdog over state and county legislation.

For information about JCCIH programs and membership, visit the website at www.jccih.org