President Message
By Darren H. Nishioka, President

Darren Nishioka Happy New Year!  Welcome to the Year of the Monkey!  2016 is the year of the Fire Monkey.  If you were born in 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004 or 2016, then you are a Monkey!  You are active, witty, intelligent, creative, like challenges, love to succeed and of course, are a little mischievous.  Your lucky colors are white, gold and blue while your lucky numbers are 1, 8 and 7.  As a Monkey, you are in the company of such famous people like Leonardo da Vinci, Celine Dion, Halle Berry, Diana Ross, Harry S. Truman, Mick Jagger, Nick Jonas and Captain Cook.

We are halfway through our fiscal year 2015-2016.  We have accomplished a lot as we prepare for the upcoming year.  At this time, I would really like to express my gratitude to all of the Officers, Directors, Committee Chairpersons, Members and our Executive Assistant for all their energy, wisdom, time and support of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hawaii.  You have all played a vital role in upholding our Mission Statement to promote the well-being of our community through business and personal relationships through the values of "Kahiau" and "Okage sama de".  To all of you, Thank You!

We continue to go full steam ahead in 2016.  At the beginning of this fiscal year, we had 276 members.  As of month-end of January 2016, our net membership is at 288.  Our goal is to reach 300 members so please talk to other businesses and business owners, people in the community and even your friends to inform them about the chamber and encourage them to join our family.

A Goji-Kara was held on December 28, 2015 at the Hilo Meishoin on how to create a Kadomatsu.  Instructors Harvey Tajiri and Kenji Kuroshima presented the background of the Kadomatsu to our chamber members and guests.  They then proceeded to teach attendees on how to properly prepare one.  It was a fun-filled evening with hands-on experience for everyone.   Attendees benefited by being able to take home their master creations to celebrate the New Year with a traditional hand-made Kadomatsu.

I was honored to partake in the Urasenke Hilo Association's Annual New Year's Tea Ceremony held at the Tea House in Liliuokalani Park Gardens on Sunday, January 24th.  Green Tea was expertly prepared for the participants and the delicious lunch was beautifully prepared by members of the association.  I was able to sit with the Urasenke Hilo Association's President Russell Oda and Vice President Art Taniguchi during lunch and discuss the cultural significance of the Tea Ceremony as well as gain knowledge of the association's early beginnings.  It was a very educational and enjoyable day.

The Chamber 17th Annual  Golf Classic Tournament was held on January 27, 2016.  Golf Classic Chairperson Rosie Sakane-Elarco and her team did an outstanding job.  This year's tournament had to be rescheduled to January due to the scheduled renovations of the golf course.  The committee successfully navigated the challenges associated with the new event date and the ongoing construction.  We had 156 golfers participating in the tournament who deserve our thanks for supporting the chamber.  A special thank you goes out to Allan Ikawa and Big Island Candies for being our Title Sponsor for five consecutive years.  Mahalo Allan for your generous support of our chamber.

The Japanese Community Association of Hawaii held its 3rd Annual Nikkei Kigyo event on January 22, 2016.  Barry Taniguchi and Toby Taniguchi of KTA Super Stores were recognized this year in celebration of the company's 100th birthday.  Congratulations to KTA Super Stores and best wishes for another 100 years.  Congratulations also goes out the JCAH President Jan Higashi for putting on such an important and successful event.  Proceeds from the event will go toward the JCAH scholarship program.
On January 15, 2016, the chamber held an event entitled "University of Hawaii and Hawaii Community College Update".  UH Hilo Chancellor Dr. Donald Straney and HCC Interim Chancellor Joni Onishi provided updates to attendees on their respective institutions' future opportunities and challenges.  A good take away was a quote mentioned by Ms. Onishi in which she stated "there is no such thing as status quo, you either wilt or grow...unknown".  This was a message for everyone present to take action to support our university and community college.  JCCIH Economic Development Chairperson Carol Van Camp and Education Co-Chairpersons Charlene Iboshi and Yu Yok Pearring did an outstanding job in putting this well received event together.  Mahalo to everyone!
Left to right: Charlene Iboshi, Dr. Donald Straney, Joni Onishi, Darren H. Nishioka and Yu Yok Pearring

On Thursday, January 28, 2016, I was fortunate to attend a special ceremony held at Keaau High School to honor Hawaii's first astronaut Ellison Onizuka.  A highlight of the event was the unveiling of the KHS student's reconstructed Space Shuttle Flight Simulator on the 30th anniversary of the NASA Space Shuttle orbiter Challenger mission.  PISCES Executive Director Rob Kelso delivered an informative and emotional speech honoring his friend Ellison and commending the students in restoring the flight simulator by the 30th anniversary date.  Ellison Onizuka is an inspiration to all of us.  He can best be remembered by his quote as printed in the United States of America Passport.  "Every generation has the obligation to free men's minds for a look at new look out from a higher plateau than the last generation."

In the upcoming months, your chamber will be offering other exciting events and programs.  We have Journey Through the Universe scheduled for March 7th, our General Membership meeting with an Economic Outlook update from the Mayor scheduled for March 23rd and the Annual Tanabata Festival scheduled for July 7th, just to name a few.  So, mark your calendars and come join us.  I look forward to seeing you there!

Domo Arigato Gozaimasu

Education and Economic Committees Educate and Inspire
By Charlene Iboshi. Education Committee Co-Chairperson

Charlene Iboshi Wilt or Grow. "There is no such thing as status quo" was the common theme during the updates by Hawaii Community College Interim Chancellor Joni Onishi and University of Hawaii Hilo Chancellor Don Straney on February 15th, to a crowd topping sixty. Both gave fact-filled updates about programs, new initiatives to help our students seamlessly transfer credits between the two and four year colleges, giving high school students college credits through early admissions programs, and much more.

Hawaii Community College (HCC) celebrates its 75th year anniversary in 2016, and offers 26 academic programs. The West Hawaii Campus, Palamanui, opened for classes last year and is fully operational. Our community college has 3,000 students with the greatest percentage of Native Hawaiian students (42%) in the state system.  88% of the student body are Hawaii Island residents.  The challenges of declining enrollment should not distract us from seeking funds for science labs and capital improvements, Onishi said.

Interim Chancellor Joni Onishi made everyone laugh when providing highlights, as well as recommendations for us. One recommendation was being an "ambassador" for HCC to promote private funding for critical improvements. Providing students with internship and employment opportunities, providing funding for scholarships and early college admissions, and supporting government funding for capital improvements rounded out the recommendations.

Donald Straney Chancellor Dr. Donald Straney provided a positive outlook for Hilo as a college town and Hawaii Island as a living laboratory for advances in sciences and technology.  Identified challenges included new leadership for the Dean of Pharmacy, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Arts and Sciences. Declining enrollment can be offset by developing new initiatives to attract funding for the college and community, Straney encouraged. This must be done jointly with the University of Hawaii at Hilo and satellite campuses throughout the island with guidance and support of the community. JCCIH plays an important role to guide future expansion of health care degrees and workforce.

Recognizing that our college campuses provide both educational and economic opportunities, both Chancellors emphasized strengthening our relationship with JCCIH to provide opportunities for success of our local institutions of higher learning and business community. Our colleges continue to respond to ever-increasing global and economic demands, while serving our island's citizens.

Challenger Simulator Restoration Inspire Students through Collaboration

JCCIH Education Co-Chair, Charlene Iboshi and

JCCIH President 

 Darren H. Nishioka  

JCCIH donation provided a lift to the completion of the Keaau High School's and Hawaii Community College's restoration and unveiling of the Challenger's Shuttle Flight Simulator, on January 28th. It was a well-attended event coordinated by JCCIH's member, Rob Kelso, Executive Director of the Pacific International Spae Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES Program.)

Within four months, the project was completed with local funders, including many JCCIH Corporate Members as KTA, Isemoto Contracting, JCCIH itself, and "sweat equity" from students and staff of Keaau High School and HCC. It's an example of exceptional collaboration on Hawaii Island to inspire our students to strive "to do our best," which embodied the values and life of our own Hawaii Island student and first asian-american astronaut, Ellison Onizuka.
PISCES, Executive Director Rob Kelso and Megan Mosely. Restored Challenger Simulator - renamed by students

Tom DeWitt
Dr. Tom DeWitt, JCCIH Education Committee member, conducted an Exemplary Leadership Training, on February 5h. The leadership series provides leadership development for JCCIH members.

The Education and Economic Committees conduct events and activities that educate JCCIH members about matters that affect the educational and economic vitality for Hawaii Island and the state.

Kadomatsu Workshop
By Gina Tanouye, Social & Cultural Committee Chairperson
Member - Gina Tanouye   
On Dec 28th in preparation for the new year, JCCIH members gathered together for a special Kadomatsu making event at Hilo Meishoin.  Instructors Kenji Kuroshima and Harvey Tajiri generously donated their time to teach how to assemble the kadomatsu, and also gave a history and cultural meaning behind the details involved in the kadomatsu.  Members learned how to clean, polish and assemble the kadomatsu which they were then able to bring home.
JCCIH Kadomatsu Workshop
JCCIH Kadomatsu Workshop
I cannot express in words just how thankful I am to everyone that made this happen.  Planning happened months before the event to make sure we would have instructors and supplies.  Gordon Takaki and Francis Rickard played an integral part in this event.  The week before our gathering, JCCIH Members: Francis Rickard, Gordon Takaki and Jon Arizumi were joined by Norman Iha and Calvin Tao (it was his mother's property that supplied the bamboo) on Saturday morning to begin the process.  With the fear of Dengue fever in the air, they covered themselves in mosquito repellant and braved the wet bamboo forest to cut and haul large amounts of bamboo.  They showed up to my house wet, dirty, tired but in great spirits.  We laughed over drinks and pupus as they shared their adventures in the forest with me.  But the day wasn't done, Gordon and Francis then headed to collect matsu, the pine needed.  Special thanks to Mark Rodrigues of Business Insurance Services for allowing us access to his property for the pine.
Miyuki Lee also played an important role.  Not only was she a translator for instructor, Kenji Kuroshima, but she also supplied the plastic Ume flowers, bringing it back with her from her most recent Japan trip.

And I cannot go without mentioning, Gabe Figueira, a wonderful friend to the chamber.  Having to change clothes twice because the amount of dust created, he worked tirelessly spending the entire day cutting all of the bamboo with the special 60 degree cuts needed.

When I took on the responsibility of Social & Cultural Committee Chair almost 3 years ago, one of the requests made was to have a kadomatsu making event.  I am so glad that we were finally able to accomplish this and bring it to the JCCIH members.  Thanks to all who attended and reached out to express what a wonderful experience you had.  The Committee appreciates you!  

Economic Development Committee Update
By Carol VanCamp, Economic Development Committee Chairperson

The Chamber's
Economic Development
Committee continues to work closely with the Education Committee on programs that are both educational and impact our economy.  In mid-January, our dual committees also collaborated on the presentation made by the UHH and Hawaii Community chancellors about their priorities and areas where they need the help of the business community.

Both committees worked together on the "The Leadership Challenge Workshop" on Feb. 5th at UHH.  This program is aimed at organization leaders, business leaders and individuals who want to improve their leadership skills and effectiveness.

The Economic Development Committee also encouraged Chamber members to attend the recently public meetings held by the State Department of Land & Natural Resources to present the results of studies on the redevelopment of the Banyan Drive area and ways to improve the land lease program in the Kanoelehua Industrial Area.

On Feb. 17th, the County of Hawaii hosted a special late afternoon program at County of Hawaii Aupuni Conference Center about the Blue Zones project.  East and North Hawaii are two of three communities in Hawaii selected for this project with the support of HMSA and Healthways.  This program provided an update on the progress and experiences to date.   Several employers in both areas have committed to participation aimed at helping to keep both their employees and their communities healthy.

On March 23rd, Mayor Billy Kenoi will present his annual county update, and we are also organizing a presentation by George Sziget, President & CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) .  Additional details will be provided in the near future.

Our committee is always looking for new members, so anyone interested in joining this important committee would be welcome.


Hawaii Community College Update
By Joni Onishi, Interim Chancellor

Community Partnerships and collaboration are central to the mission of Hawai'i Community College. Hawai'i CC offers 26 academic programs, offering 48 degrees and certificates. To keep curricula and requirements current and relevant, each degree program has a Program Advisory Council made up of community leaders like yourselves, who provide guidance regarding course content, selection of training equipment, employment needs, and the effectiveness of different programs.

The college appreciates the contributions of the Advisory Council members, as their knowledge helps us provide high-quality programs that serve the needs of Hawai'i Island. If you would like to learn more about becoming a member of an Advisory Council, contact Beth Sanders at

3rd Annual Hawai'i CC Day
Friday, February 26 was the 3rd Annual Hawai'i CC Day, at our Manono campus in Hilo.

Hawai'i CC Day celebrates the college's value to our Hawai'i Island community by having our academic programs display interactive exhibits for community members and middle and high school students.

This event was free and open to the public, to explore the services, programs and resources that have made Hawai'i CC an exceptional place to learn since it was founded 75 years ago.

Pālamanui Open House & Grand Opening Celebration

On Saturday, February 27 our new campus in West Hawai'i hosted an Open House & Grand Opening Celebration.

The Hawai'i Community College - Pālamanui campus opened for classes in August 2015. Now we are ready to celebrate this accomplishment with the Hawai'i Island community and welcome residents to the new home for higher education in West Hawai'i.

This fun-filled event featured:
  • Live music by several local groups, including the grammy-nominated singer and musician Robi Kahakalau, Hawai'i-based reggae band The Steppas, and the Keawe Trio. 
  • Cooking demonstrations by our Culinary Arts program, with samples and light refreshments included.
  • A performance by Polynesian cultural group Te E'a o Te Turama.
  • Exhibits by Hawai'i CC, other University of Hawai'i campuses, and community partners.
  • Campus tours, and more.

Introducing OMKM Cultural Resources Program Manager, Lukela Ruddle
By Stephanie Nagata, Director
Stephanie Nagata
Introducing OMKM Cultural Resources Program Manager, Lukela Ruddle
I am happy to announce that Lukela Ruddle has joined the Office of Maunakea Management team as its Cultural Resources Program Manager. Lukela has strong ties to Hilo, her hometown, where her paternal grandfather, Albert Ruddle, had managed the local Ford Motor Company franchise (today's Orchid Isle Auto Center) while her grandmother, Annabelle Ruddle, was an active philanthropist with various charities and events. When asked about the values her family lived by, Lukela states she was raised to pursue her interests, and her interest is problem-solving.

For fourteen of the past eighteen years, Lukela served the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, first as Trustee Aide to Hannah Kihalani Springer, then as the East Hawaii Community Resource Coordinator. She conducted community outreach, advocacy and community coalition building. Her working familiarity with county, state and federal laws enabled her to advise OHA on various matters and boosted the creation, review and implementation of OHA policies and programs. With this understanding of community needs and the available public resources, Lukela also collaborated in drafting legislation, securing capital improvements funds and expanding programs to directly advance beneficiaries. In 2009, for example, Lukela chaired a steering committee that obtained eight million dollars for the new Keaukaha Elementary School cafeteria. Her work at OHA provides her extensive knowledge and insight into local political workings and public administration as well as valuable partnerships.

Lukela stated that the job of the Cultural Resources Program Manager "Needs to be done," and she comes to OMKM with the desire to contribute to the ongoing work of integrating cultural views into meaningful management of the mountain. She will assist Kahu Ku Mauna with project reviews, policy development, community consultation, and implementation of the Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP), in particular, the Cultural Resources Management Plan. She believes progress must be tempered with cultural concerns, and will work with lineal descendants and persons having historical ties to Maunakea to develop culturally appropriate procedures and protocols. Lukela also wants to initiate an educational campaign for cultural landscape preservation and a collection of the traditional, contemporary, and customary cultural practices on Maunakea.


Current Benefits for Members

Please check out the current benefits and discounts that you can take advantage of as a JCCIH member!   


Gina Tanouye, Allstate - Speegle Insurance Agency is dedicated to providing outstanding service with Aloha for your auto, home, renters, life insurance and financial service needs. For every referral the office receives, the member will receive a $10 gift card for allowing them to provide an insurance quote.   Contact Gina Tanouye at 969-7767 or

Amelia Hayashi, Bob's Jewelers is offering members 30% off watches; 30% off gold jewelry (Po Son Hon collection excluded); and 30% off sterling silver jewelry.   Contact Amelia Hayashi at 935-8434. 

Offering up to 25% off legal services depending on case.   Contact Al Konishi 960-4072.

Diann Horita - With an office in Hilo, Eyewear Hilo has been serving Keaau, Papaikou, Kurtistown and Waimea for more than 4 years. Prior to beginning in Dec. 2008, the staff was employed by Eyewear Hawaii, Inc. and that same respected service is found at Eyewear Hilo.  When you desire superior cutting edge lens technology.
Members will receive a 20% discount.
Contact Diann Horita at 935-1119. 

Joy Madriaga, Hawaii Petroleum, Inc., HPI offers dependable bulk fuel and lubricant delivery services to all districts of the island. HPI's proprietary gas card program - Hawaii Fueling Network - provides a convenient, cost saving for businesses and consumers to fuel. Sign up for membership with Hawaii Fueling Network (HFN) and receive a discount per gallon on your gas purchases at any of our 13 locations. Fuel Up Do Good when you buy Fuel at any of our eight Islandwide Ohana Fuels retail locations a portion of your purchase goes to a Non-profit that serves our community. Contact Joy Madriaga at 969-1405 for further questions. Applications are available at the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii.

Bernard Balsis,  IEG Federal Credit Union.  Special only for members of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii (JCCIH) - 25 basis point (1/4%) reduction on regular consumer loans at IEG FCU (Independent Employers Group FCU). These include regular personal loans and vehicle loans.  Exclusions are but not limited to lines of credit, mortgage, business and Home Equity Loans.  Usual loan qualifications apply. 
Contact Bernard Balsis at 961-6691

OFFER EXPIRES:  April 30, 2016

Jieyu Sheparo, Kitchen & Beyond, LLC., offering 5% discount on items in store.   Contact Jieyu Sheparo at 935-2167.

Dawn Kanealii, Liko Lehua Cafe, offering 15% off entire bill.   Contact Dawn Kanealii at 936-9823.

Save up to 60% off a core list of more than 650 commonly purchased items. Additional deep savings on over 3,000+ items in OfficeMax's "Work Essentials" catalog.  Most other items will receive a 5% discount both online and in the store (excluding furniture and technology).  Contact Chamber office at 934-0177.

Sandy Wilson, Wilson's Trophies, provides awards for sports and academics; signs and banners; corporate awards and recognition, gifts & recognition; custom and personalized products (made to order); wood and acrylic crafting (laser engraving and designs); special occasions (Valentine's, Christmas, etc.); jewelry items (earrings, pendants, hair picks and more), also advertising promotional items. Members will receive awards discounts. C
ontact Sandy Wilson at 969-7077.   

Words of Wisdom 
By Tommy Goya,
JCCIH Past President
Tommy Goya

"In the time of the samurai, two warriors are eyeing each other over dinner.  Yoshi-San draws his sword and cuts a mosquito in two.  Oto Chubei smiles at the nice cut.  Moments later, Oto Chubei draws his sword and stops midair, and the mosquito flies off.

Yoshi-san says, 'You missed.'  Oto Chubei says, 'He flew off, but he will never be a father.'  Yoshi-San bought the drinks."

Source, Unzan T.H. Pfennig, Hilo, HTH, Your Views, A2, Wednesday, February 3, 2015




In This Issue




What's Happening

March 23, 2016
General Membership Meeting
& County of Hawaii Outlook
with Mayor Billy Kenoi
 Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, Moku'ola Ballroom
11:30 am - 1:00 pm
Register here>
  May 12, 2016
Hawaii Tourism Authority Presentation
Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, Moku'ola Ballroom
11:30 am - 1:00 pm
more information forthcoming
June 8, 2016
JCCIH 66th Annual Installation
Hilo Naniloa Hotel, Crown Room
more information forthcoming  

Officers & Directors  


Executive Officers

Darren Nishioka, President

Russell Arikawa, 1st Vice President

Audrey Takamine, 2nd Vice President

Stephen Ueda, 3rd Vice President

Naomi Menor, Japanese Secretary

Joseph Skruch, Treasurer
Ivan Nakano, Auditor

David Honma, Immediate-Past President


Directors - term expiring 6/30/16

Nobuo Arimoto

Ross Birch

Laurie Correa

Charlene Iboshi

Michael Kaleikini

Ka'iu Kimura

Kimo Lee
Barry Mizuno

Nico Verissimo


Directors - term expiring 6/30/17

Jon Arizumi

Tommy Goya

Josie Kiyan

Peter Kubota

Phoebe Lambeth

Dwayne Mukai

Russell Oda

Nina Tanabe

Arthur Taniguchi

Gina Tanouye

Jere Usui 

Carol VanCamp

Directors - term expiring 6/30/18

Dean Fuke

Barbara Hastings

Ryan Kadota

Randy Kurohara

Amanda Lee

Joy Madriaga

Tracey Miura

Mike Miyahira

Chad Ogata

Allan Onishi

Francis Rickard

Rosie Sakane-Elarco

Debbie Shigehara

Toby Taniguchi


Oshirase Newsletter   

Amanda Lee, Editor 
Lei Momi Fujiyama Pillers, Executive Assistant    



Welcome New Members! 


Mary Miyuki Coursey

Bears Coffee & Deli

106 Keawe St., Hilo, HI  96720

Ph: 895-5875



Patrick Guillen

University of Hawaii at Hilo

200 W. Kawili St., Hilo, HI  96720

Ph: 932-7170



Frances Hamabata

Hilo Naniloa Hotel

93 Banyan Drive, Hilo, HI  96720

Ph: 969-3333   Fax: 959-3501



Bettye S. Williams

Hawaii Island United Way

P O Box 745, Hilo, HI  96721

Ph: 935-6393   Fax: 935-2553






HELCO 2013-2014

Seniors Helping Seniors 2013-2014

Kama'aina Motors





Direct Link 2013-2014


Kama'aina Nissan

Creative Arts 2013-2014



HPM 2015-2016


Allstate 2015-2016

HELCO 2013-2014

Seniors Helping Seniors 2013-2014

Kama'aina Motors





Direct Link 2013-2014


Kama'aina Nissan

Creative Arts 2013-2014



HELCO 2013-2014

© 2011 Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hawai'i


714 Kanoelehua Avenue
Hilo, Hawai'i 96720-4565
Phone: 808-934-0177
Fax: 808-934-0178 


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